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tv   Washington This Week  CSPAN  July 21, 2012 10:00am-2:00pm EDT

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national convention. the house is expected to vote on congressman paul's legislation next week. that is our show for today. thanks for joining us. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012] >> next, a senate hearing on controlling the cost of college tuition. after that, a forum on the violence in syria and the assad regime. and then patty murray talks about federal spending and deficit reduction.
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on thursday, the senate health education, labor, and pension committee held a hearing looking at tuition costs and making college more affordable. the committee heard from college and university presidents this is about one hour and 15 minutes. >> the senate committee on health, education, labor, and pensions will come to order. millions of students and families across america are struggling to pay the costs of college. during these difficult economic times, colleges becoming less and less affordable. state and local funding for students dropped by 25%.
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tuition and fees increased by 72%. student debt surpassed credit card debt for the first time ever. the news media is rife with pressing student debt, including graduates with $100,000 in debt. these costs are putting the american dream on hold or out of reach. a report released recently found that many delayed making a purchase like a home or car because of college debt. many have put off their college education or move in with relatives to save money. americans 25-34 make up a little more up 1/4 of all home buyers. there is no need to cite more of these grim statistics.
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the message is clear. college is increasingly out of reach for students in working families and lower income families. one of my top priorities as chairman of this committee is to address this crisis and try to curb the barriers to college. this is the second health committee hearing this year focusing on college affordability. i want us to move beyond bemoaning the severity of the problem. our focus will be on institutions to implement promising strategies and practices, renovations and improvements to college affordability while improving
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student access and students' success. these innovations can help inform our committee's work in designing federal policy. we will also hear some expert insight into how tuition pricing and financial aid policies can promote affordability. how do some schools take a look at their operations to find efficiencies so that savings can be translated into minimum or no tuition increases. how our schools working with students and families to make sure they are making sound decisions. how are ended -- innovative leaders reinventing their operations. how are some schools realizing gains in retention and completion while bringing down costs for students?
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how do schools maximize their financial aid resources while targeting students with most financial need. in short, how can colleges and universities strengthen the first and secondary access for lower and middle income families in the face of growing costs and increasing calls for better irresponsibility and outcomes. i look forward to working with our distinguished ranking members and my colleagues on both sides to ensure that college education remains affordable and within reach of all americans regardless of background. with that, i invite opening remarks. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i appreciate this outstanding panel. my only regret is that you will have to reduce that we can stay
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within the timeframe so we will have time for questions. not only do we have this distinguished panel, but we have the former president of the university of tennessee on this committee. he has been suggesting things for a long time that call it could solve some problems and that we could stop putting burdens on the colleges. i thank you mr. chairman for having this hearing. call it has become too expenses and shows no signs of getting cheaper anytime soon. if this trend does not change, it will be impossible for us to remain the first in the world to college attainment. no progress will be made if institutions do not find ways to cut costs and save students money. i know this is possible because today's witnesses are doing just
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that. in recent years, each of these individuals have been faced with the challenge of doing more with less. state appropriation has fallen and the demand for higher education has increased. they have responded with cost- cutting that has labeled their institution -- enable their institutions to continue to serve students without sacrificing quality. i hope it will serve as a model for how institutions of higher education can start making changes now. with this in mind, i recognize that congress has a responsibility to help. dramatic changes have been made to increase access to federal student aid and medical costs for college. these changes have led to funding problems in the pell grant program for fiscal year
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2014. these changes successfully generated sufficient savings in the short term, they come at the expense of other lower and middle income students and have done nothing to avoid future funding gaps. i urge this committee to begin addressing the long-term sustainability of pell sooner rather than later. waiting will only result in another costly, last met short- term solution. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator. we will go to our panel of witnesses. we have an exceptional panel of witnesses. i want to thank all of you for taking the time to be here. i want to go down and introduce our panel and we will start with dr. heller.
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he has been dean of the michigan college of education since january january. his work has been frequently reported on by the media. next we will hear from dr. lee. he took the reins at iowa state in january. he is a research program leader and high level administrator. he currently serves on the iowa
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advisory council as a member of the capital crosswords -- crossroads implementation committee. he shows great signs of doing great things for iowa. he has been so much of his life in north carolina for purposes of recognition. >> thank you. it is difficult when you take one of the chairman's witnesses. let me say to my colleagues,
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steve has a remarkable record within the north carolina. university carolina not only has he served in numerous capacities in his field of agriculture, steve led an effort by the university system in a public/private partnership to create the largest research campus in the world for the study of human nutrition. it is truly a model of success system. it has six academic campuses on the research camp as part. it has equipment -- is the only facility in the world has some of the equipment a country have. steve has had an unbelievable history of increasing the grants and research programs within the university system which has led the north carolina university system to be one of the most impressive research organizations and the country. he is -- he has also pioneered what i believe is one of the most important public/private partnerships and will be a model for others to try to replicate around the world. mr. chairman, he was a graduate of pennsylvania state university, master's at the university of delaware, and has a doctorate in plant pathology.
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i can't think of a better person to serve. thank you. >> thank you very much. our next witness is dr. jekyll murdaugh. before coming to -- doctors jim murdaugh. he was elected to the board of florida universities and was on the legislative committee for the upcoming -- upcoming school year. we'll next year from thomas j. snyder, the president of by the tech college in indiana. he came there in 2007 after a successful career as a business executive including time at general motors and most recently as president and ceo of dell co international. he is a recognized leader in advanced energy and he participated in the introduction of the first u.s.-produced hybrid vehicle drive. the chronicle of higher edge -- higher education landham is one of seven university presidents
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making a difference nationwide. our final witness is dr. carol twig. she is an international recognized expert in using information technology effectively to transform teaching and higher education. prior to founding her organization in 1999, she was the vice president of educom dedicated to effectively using technology. she has also served as the associate vice chancellor for learning technologies for the state university-of new university suny. we have a very, very distinguished group of panelists today all of your testimony will be part of the record in its entirety. we'll start with dr. heller and if you would sum up your testimony in five or seven minutes or so, if you go a little bit over, don't worry too much.
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a lot of senators want to get engaged with all of you. if you summarize your testimony, i would appreciate and we'll start with you dr. heller. >> members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to address you on this critical issue affecting our nation. i come to you today having conducted research on financial aid, tuition pricing policies, and their impact on college access for 15 years. tuition prices in colleges and universities have skyrocketed. over the last three decades, prices in public and private institutions have grown more than three times faster than inflation and three times faster than median family income in our country. my testimony today will not examine the reason behind these rising prices but to discuss
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with governments and colleges and universities can do to ensure the college remains accessible for all students. my remarks are focused on what we can do to promote college access and success from students -- with students from low and moderate income families. we need to focus on them if we are to achieve president obama's goal of returning the united states to world leadership in educational attainment. for poor students, the sticker price of college drives their perception of what cost to attend. in a world of perfect information about prices and financial aid, students would be able to accurately calculate the true net price that they face. this fantasy world does not exist. the world of higher education finance is a mysterious place for most of the students for the department of education has taken important steps to disseminate better information about financial aid, there is still much that needs to be done.
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the hundreds of not thousands of studies that have been conducted on financial aid will tell us what we need to do to ensure college participation for these students with financial needs. because they base their decisions on sticker prices, financial aid programs need to be simple, easily excess of all, and provide information early in the lives of students where they can make good decisions about preparing for college academically and financially. we know that grants are much more effective in promoting college participation than our student loans. for students have shown to be more averse to borrowing and they will often choose to enroll only part-time and work more hours, behavior and are detrimental to completing a bachelor's degree program. 30% of the grants awarded by state and 55% of institutional grants are awarded without any form of testing. we need to encourage states and universities to focus their support on students with financial needs.
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higher education institutions need to ensure that they are doing all they can to keep tuition prices in check. i know my colleagues will be talking about that. some observers have argued that federal financial aid serves little purpose and to provide incentives for institutions to raise their prices and capture that eight. there is no credible evidence to support this proposition. during the administration of george w. bush, the department of education publishes a highly respected study on tuition price increases. it found that the primary driver of tuition price increases in public institutions where over 3/4 of our graduate students attend college, is the change in state funding as states invest less money in higher education. the institutions respond by raising prices. the study found no relationship between the availability of federal and state grants and the ensuing chore -- tuition price increases in public or private not-for-profit
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institutions. as institutions raise prices, they have an obligation to ensure they increase their own financial aid program to hold harmless these neediest students. last year, our state cut michigan state university appropriation by 15%. our board raised tuition 6.9% to compensate in part for these cuts. the board also increased our own institutional grant aid by 10% with 83% of these grants dollars going to students with financial need. this is an example of what institutions need to do with their own financial aid programs. pell grants received bipartisan support from congress, one problem with the program is that the maximum boards have not kept pace with the increase in tuition price. the second problem the po grants is that most concern not aware of the grants until late in their senior we're a bicycle.
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they receive a financial aid offer from an institution and it is only then they know what kind of crap that will be receiving. this is too late to help students who are deciding early in their lives if they can afford to attend college to address this problem, i would strongly encourage you to fund a small provision in the higher education opportunity act called the early federal pell grant commitment demonstration program. this innovative program would test the efficacy of awarding of grants to eligible students in the eighth grade. by awarding grants to students in middle school, they would have at least four years of high school to prepare academically, socially, and financially to attend college. the demonstration program is modeled on the state of indiana's 21st century scholars program which provides a guaranteed middle school students that the state will pay all of their tuition at any public institution in indiana. this demonstration program that was authorized by the higher education opportunity act but
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not yet funded would be a modest effort. i encourage you to fund it and implemented so we may learn how we can make pell grants even more effective than they already are today. i will close by thanking you once again for the opportunity to address this committee and would be happy to take your questions after the remaining witnesses have testified. thank you. >> thank you very much. please proceed. >> good morning and i thank you for this opportunity to testify today. i have the honor of being the 15th president of iowa state university which is the iowa land grant university. here in washington and throughout the nation, we're celebrating the 150th anniversary of the act to create a land grant universities and i was the first day in the nation to accept the terms of the act. these land grant universities were created to make higher education acceptable and affordable for the working class is which is relevant to this topic we are discussing today, the rapidly rising cost of college and the dead many of our young people care one whit
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-- whether the graduate or not. i had to work to pay for my education. i attended three public universities and pursued by three degrees. i worked two jobs throughout college so i could graduate without debt. it was the best investment i ever made and with that in mind, i want to make his opening statement that i hope we can all agree on that higher education is a good investment for this nation. worldtion's place in the economically and as a leader in humanitarian issues depends on having a highly educated work force and citizenry. this knowledge-driven economy, jobs are increasingly linked to the application of new knowledge in the marketplace and individuals getting it will play -- well paying secure job. that is dependent on continuing their education be hot -- beyond high school. the unemployment rate is significantly lower among those who graduate.
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we want to continue to make higher education accessible and that means being affordable without being burdened by unmanageable debt loads which is the case for many of our students today. this is especially important issue at iowa state because the state of iowa as the third highest average student debt load in the nation. we are working to lessen the debt load for our students by using an aggressive four-part approach. the first part of this is holding down costs. we have a responsibility as residents of our universities to do everything we can to reduce the overhead for the education we provide. everything from light to computing to administer the support -- due to state budget cuts and to drive our cause floor, we have eliminated hundreds of positions and gain efficiencies by consolidating departments and reorganizing our administrative offices and merging major administrative computing systems and finding
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more cost-effective ways of providing services such as through e-mail. we have created a savings of tens of millions of dollars annually. we're proud our tuition is the lowest of all the universities in our peer group. the second is to provide better financial a counseling and financing options for students and families. our financial award notice addresses how much the student's payments will be based on their borrowing trans. it note -- emphasize that the laws are optional and encourages the use of other methods to pay for education. we have to help our students make better financial decisions. we are only one of five universities in the nation with a financial aid counseling unit for students. we need to be more creative in helping students find alternative and lower cost pathways to pay higher degree. we want to work with community colleges. 1/5 are new students are
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transfers from community colleges and increasing number of our high school students come to us and have already earned college credits. this takes -- this reduces the cost and reduce their debt load. we have established reticulation agreements with a return to college in the state of iowa. we also offer admissions, partnership programs with community college students who plan to continue their education at iowa state. the fourth part of our effort is to maximize revenue streams other than tuition to support their academic mission. the state support across the nation really needs to stop. state appropriations covered 75% of the cost of residents student's tuition and education. last year, that figure dropped to 36%, less than half of what was in 1981. we received a modest increase from the legislature for the coming year so we're optimistic that is -- that the downward trend may have slowed.
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the federal government has an important role to play. pell grants have been an important part of financing a student's education especially lower cost students where affordability is a link to access propel grants help them keep pace with inflation. holding down interest rates on federal student loans is critical to making higher education more affordable and i applaud your recent efforts in doing so. we have institutions have to do more to provide funding to help students pay for their education. we recently created a major campaign that brought -- brought in one of the $67 million in pledges. $236 million of that was for student scholarships. most of the fund went into endowments. a land grant university like i was to increase its annual
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scholarship dollars for students from $9 million per year in 2004, to $21 million last year. soon, we will do aggressive new fund-raising campaigns that will be focused on student scholarships. overall, thanks to institutions and some federal programs and grants, they have increased nationally by 10%. as a result, total borrowing by students and parents is 10.4% that was a decade ago. these are good trends but more needs to be done because this debt is still a manageable for many. we did not commit to this dilemma overnight. it has taken decades. we will not get out of this overnight, either. this will take a long term multifaceted approach with all the stakeholders working together, state, federal government, working together we can make progress to making college more affordable than it has been a long time.
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thank you very much and i will be happy to answer any questions. >> thank you come dr.leath. please proceed. >> distinguished members of the committee, thank you for inviting me. i represent a comprehensive community college in the capital city of florida serving over 15,000 students. i appreciate the opportunity to share with you some of the actions that are college to maintain affordability of access to the american dream. i believe we are an example of the fact that college can be affordable without reducing quality. following the florida legislature's decision to fund college is at a continuation level, we chose to hold tuition, despite being given the authority to increase tuition by five%.
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our decision this year to hold tuition to the same level as last year is a strong statement of what our trustees and their college leadership values. without you access to higher education and we believe access is only real for those who can afford it. keeping our tuition for a full year of college at $2,304, where one of the most affordable institutions in higher education in the country. in 2010-11, our net price was 36% lower than the national average for two-year public institutions. within the to the florida, where among the most affordable of the 28 community and state colleges and our tuition fees are roughly half those of state universities for the first two years of college. our low tuition has not negatively impact -- impacted our quality or productivity. we rank fourth nationally among two-year institutions and a awardinga degrees. for an associate degree awarded to african-americans, we rank sixth nationally.
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we are above state average and retention and completion rates and have a significantly higher percentage of students to transfer to four-year institutions. local colleges, our person strategy in to keeptcc affordable by seeking efficiencies to keep our costs low and i don't want to minimize that. the one thing i would like to talk about is where i believe weave great promise in an area of the efficiency and academic planning and execution that helps students enter, remain, and complete college. i believe that hold, perhaps, as much promise in keeping college affordable as our efforts in administrative efficiencies. there is still much to learn.
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this helps students avoid for paying for unnecessary courses, improve their likelihood of persistence which avoid wasting their tuition dollars, and provides them with degrees and credentials that lead to jobs that provide inappropriate return on that investment. we make extensive use of the acceleration mechanisms to we make extensive use of the acceleration mechanisms to save them money and expedite their time to completion. nearly 1/4 previously enrolled students to come to our college, arrive with over 20 college credits earned, have no cost. this saves them money intuition and expedite their time to complete the associate degree. we create individualized learning plans that sure they take the right course to achieve their career and academic goals. of the 600 -- of the 6713
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students in the fall of 2011 with less than 18 college credits, 85% had a complete plant and 90% a career interests. we engage in continuous course redesigned to improve success rates and help students move the. her college we focus on the top 10 highest enrollment classes and gateway courses to achieve the greatest impact on student success. we believe the results of our efforts in terms of academic the efficiencies is that our students earn their degrees and a relatively timely manner. among public institutions nationwide, are crucial asian rate within three years is 10% higher than the national average i have provided more information on a number of these and other initiatives. a look forward to your any questions you may have. >> thank you very much. >> we turn to mr. snyder, please proceed,
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>> distinguished committee members, i am at a statewide university college i would like to start by thanking the committee for its leadership in maintaining low student loan interest rates. the students appreciate the continuation of these low interest rates for the coming year. i want to thank the members of the committee for your support of pell grants. community colleges have a strong partnership with the federal input on pell grants as they are critical to the students attending our institutions. pell grants and low-interest rates are only parts of the college cost concerns of our students and families. we must have low-cost, high- quality options for individual students.
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i have watched the companies have gained shares of businesses by providing high- quality products at low cost for it i witnessed the emergence of toyota and the japanese auto industry and the korean car industry and china. this is a business model that is highly competitive and customer focus than in relentless pursuit of low-cost. in higher education, i found something quite different. there were routine increases in tuition, revenue model that outpaced inflation by a significant amount will focus on actual costs. when i joined i b tech in 2007, higher education did not look like a sustainable model. we made quality and efficiency changes in our plan and started
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to reduce internal cost and improve outcomes. let me share some examples -- we instituted a single book store for our campuses and cap the number of textbooks required. one unified bookstore with greater purchasing power translated into fewer and less costly textbooks for our students. the centralized purchasing system led by a single executive and state what contracts in computers and data networks and furniture and copiers and telecommunications and health care. this year, we joined the state of indiana to have a single prescription management program for all state employees including higher education. we have simplified our registration of financial process for students. like when you had to go six or seven offices to enroll in school, we instituted a one-stop system. sitting i forvy tech is good
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for the students. we have launched an accelerated program calledasap. students can get a two-year transferrable degree and one year attending five days per week for 11 consecutive months. our graduation rate is three times the average of the national average. we created one of the greatest online offerings in the country reaching almost half of our students. 8000 students take on-line courses during the year. dual credit students exit 25,000, saving parents more than $12,000 of tuition costs because they are taking courses in high school. we have worked with our state legislature to ensure that credits that transfer and look at florida as a real role model which we hope to emulate but we have more work to do in this area. let me close by giving new these
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facts -- in the past two years with the savings we have generated, the actual cost for a full-time student ivy texas dropped in real dollars since 2008. the cost and this segment of society as far outstripped inflation but the income growth of most americans. the concern for my homestead i have is the sad fact that the four-year residential experiences out of reach for at the hoosier families. community colleges, we have focused in the past on low-cost and open access. we need to shift to a completion agenda while maintaining power low-cost. the community college has become a critical part of the affordability solution. thank you very much. >> dr.twig, welcome back thank you for inviting me to testify. >> i am president and ceo for the center for academic transformation, nonprofit
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organization founded in 1993. to center's mission is demonstrate how effective information technology can improve student learning outcomes and reduce instructional costs. we focus on undergraduate higher education. everyone seems to agree that both costs on the price of higher education are too high. the primary driver of tuition prices has been changes in state appropriations. regardless of who pays what proportion, states, the federal government, were students and their families, the overall cost implication has risen well beyond reason. without changes in overall productivity, these costs will continue to rise.
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unlike other industries where information technology has been used to change the way we do business, to reduce costs while increasing quality of service, higher education by and large has not been able to do so. i say this can be done and higher education as well. for the past 13 years, our center has worked in partnership with more than 200 colleges and universities demonstrating how course design using technology can change the way they do business to achieve quality improvement as well as dramatic reductions in cost. altogether, we have produced more than 150 large-scale redesigns which impact hundreds of thousands of students each year. one of the results we have achieved thus far -- this has reduced instructional costs by 37% on average. the savings range from below 9% to a high of 77%. these courses produce a cost savings of $15 million per year. reducing the structural cost by
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37% in higher education is a significant achievement especially when everyone in higher education said it cannot be done. what about quality? each of the participating organizations has conducted a rigorous evaluation of student learning, comparing the outcomes from traditional ways of teaching to the redesign teaching methods. the results of those evaluations show that student learning outcomes have improved from 72% of the redesign with the remaining 28% showing learning equivalent to traditional formats. other causes of outcomes include increased increase in rates, improved retention, and student satisfaction with a number of instruction. i want to say more about these three designs.
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most of these redesigneds focus on internet recourses. undergraduate enrollment in the united states are concentrated heavily in only a few academic areas. just 25 courses generate about 60% of all enrollment and community colleges. those same 25 courses generate about 35% of enrollment at for this year institutions. this translates to about 42% of all undergraduate enrollment. consequently, these 25 courses consume a substantial amount of institutional resources. completion of these courses is critical for students for a degree. failure in these courses which range from 15% and our research university to 40% at our comprehensive institutions and are as high as 50% adder community colleges can contribute heavily to overall institutional dropouts between the first and second year. making improvements in these key critical courses have a direct impact on students retention and completion.
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we have worked with all types of institutions, research universities, community colleges, and private institutions in all areas of the country to demonstrate that these techniques can be used across the board in higher education. we have also used in all undergraduate disciplined is to demonstrate that the redesign is applicable to all disciplines. i written testimony discusses in detail the techniques we use to achieve these accomplishments. i wanted to emphasize the three key ideas that our redesigned methodology as -- this most students from a passive learning stance, listening to a lecture while someone is talking at them which is the norm in most freshman courses and the cause of high failure rates, to a much more active engagement and learning. each of these redesigns uses high quality interactive
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instructional software where appropriate and learning place. faculty members tasks would be dealing with software so they can deal with more students. our methodology encourages college faculty and administrators to think outside the box, to sit down and examine who does what and why and decide where they can make changes that lead to improve student learning and reduce instructional costs. i would be happy to answer any questions you may have. >> thank you very much. i sat through a lot of those lectures when i was in college. >> did you give any? >> thank you all very much we will have a round of 5 minutes questions. we'll start with you h dr.eller. your testimony says to focus on need-based aids.
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the percentage of students receiving merit-based grow rapidly from 1995-2008 that by 2008, it was equal to the percentage of students receiving needed debt. based this said even despite budget cuts, it continued to offer merit-based to attract higher achieving students without considering financial aid. can you describe what we can do to encourage those to use their limited resources and n moreeed- based aid and why it is important to do so? he said 30% of grants of state have no means testing. why is it important and what can we do to encourage them to focus on ne more oned-based. >> if we are going to achieve president obama cost bowl, there are many organizations to feel the same way, if we are
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appointed to that, we have to focus on those students who are on the margins going to college and this is predominantly low and moderate income students. students from upper income families are going to college and are generally successful and once they aren't there, they don't need assistance from the federal government and the state government. focusing the financial page on needy students will have the biggest bang for the buck whether we're talking about federal aid, state aid, or institutiona aid. subsidizing students who would go to college and you will not get more graduate. financial means testing is so critical. if you go back to the 1990's, state grants committee it once was. institutional grants were awarded a m based onerit now a hasflipped.
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>> why the big shift? >> a big reason is the competitiveness among institutions and they have realized that if they use their financial aid not to insure that poor students committed to cause but instead to try to attract high-achieving academic students which come from but --, predominantly from upper- income families because of the relation between social class and performance are the kinds of tests to award merit krantz. because of that relationship, you'll get more money -- give more money to hire it comes to this and that has been a big driver of white institutions given to the enrollment management business rather than insuring college access for financially needy students. >> thank you. dr. leath, getting to the debt and the loans. i read that you had survey of your students and found that one in a don't realize they owe
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student loans while two in five don't realize how much they owe. i expect this is pervasive on campuses throughout the nation. how do we explain this misunderstanding and the misinformation? what we need to do to reverse this trend? dr. murdaugh mentioned that tallahassee, if the student barrault's more than $13,000, they don't get any new awards until they sit down with financial counseling or something like that. is this something we need to do? >> we found we definitely need to do it. the fact that 40% of our students does not know how much they owe is alarming. some of it comes and the fact that they have no financial literacy. their parents handle financing. they did not see those numbers constantly in from them of what
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their obligations would be when they finish. we need to give them those numbers so they know how interested they are, how much they will owe when they finish. we partnered closely with the student body at the university to get students on board to push this financial literacy program. it is one of only a handful and the country and is being well received and is making a huge difference and the students are responsive. nationwide, the more financial literacy we give our students early in the college career, the better off they will be in college and in life. >> you are one in five of college in the country of having a financial counseling department? >> we are teaching a course similar to the one we have an alcohol awareness. when they are away from home, there are a number of things
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they need to be educated on in terms of personal responsibility whether it is a alcohol or financial responsibility. it makes a huge difference. >> i have more questions but my time is up. >> you mentioned that you worked two jobs for college. i am curious if you and president snyder find as many kids working today at school? >> no, i think there is a tendency now where a lot of parents give their children some i opportunity and tend not to the work opportunities. we still have a large number of our students come from areas where they have great work ethics. if we could tie some of our financial aid to programs like work study programs and co-ops, i think we would be better off because we would lower student
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dead and give them work experience. it is a bigger problem that a lot of schools have everywhere. >> i think you would find that in general, the experiences are different across community colleges. a significant percentage of our students are in fact working and come to school part time. in general, it is a distinct difference between a community college demographics -- democratic and university demographics. >> do you find the true, mr. snyder? >> ,stan jhones who testified earlier this week, talked about the typical student going to residential school, about 70% of our students work and go to school part-time and excel river program i mentioned with its deals with young high-school
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graduates, they signed a pledge not to work for that first year and we find that has a huge boost in completion rates. it is a matter of family access to cost and what they can afford. >> you each mention the importance of the pell grant program. and number of changes have been made to the student programs over the last few years to preserve that maximum pell grants. how have these changes impacted your institutions? >> for community colleges, what we see going forward is that the pell grant is equivalent to a free lunch. if 50% of the country is going p to beell eligible, it will not be sustainable. community colleges in this group i am part of what to help you have a seat at the table, we are nipping around the edges of the pell grant and perhaps that
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hurts our students because we will hit more of the edges than other institutions. we recognize we have to clearly think about this if we're going to reach the attainment levels of korea and canada. >> we have seen a dramatic increase in the number of students, the percentage of students, that are benefiting p fromell. --from pell. the sustainability needs to be reviewed but it is changing will people's lives. we can control tuition price in collaboration with our legislatures, hopefully, at the end of the day, you are making a real difference in real people's lives for the fund and ofpell. >> four-year institutions? >> we have about 20 per 6% of our students on pell grants and they have been helpful especially as affordability has been an issue.
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we have had quite a bit of push back and lack of understanding of why students could not participate. we've got quite a bit of push back in an agrarian state like iowa. veterinary students are no longer eligible. we understand the realities of the money and the funding. some liberalization of terms would help. >> thank you. dr. twigg, can you talk more about how the redesign works? >> certainly, in the redesign process, the course that is taught as a whole is redesigned by a group of faculty members. lsu may offer 40 sections and work as the -- with the course as a call.
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they say every professor has to do the same thing, stand up, talk, create a syllabus, grid the test, etc. there are some things technology can do better. on the market now, there are very sophisticated instructional software programs typically in mathematics and the sciences. as the present the materials to students, give them examples and practice and show them what they are doing wrong and tell them where they need to alleviate. they can work for the software being held for the teacher when needed. it all floats a lot of the tasks that individual students would be doing one by one. a professor becomes more of a monitor of student progress intervening when necessary.
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so many of the tasks that the professors used to do individually like a grading, that allows the professor to handle twice as many students in some cases while still not working harder. it is an application using the technology. does that make sense? >> it does, thank you. i will have some more questions for all of you. a big question we have is how federal regulation is effecting what you are doing and i suspect senator alexander will cover that in his opportunity. senator bingaman. >> thank you for your testimony. but me follow up with this issue of the redesign of these courses that dr. twigg has been talking about. at the university of new mexico we have had a grant from your organization that has allowed us to put in place a redesign of the first-year psychology course, which has been successful, students are doing better, learning more, and
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enjoy in it. the obvious question that comes to me it is technology has changed a lot of things in our society and an -- me as technology has changed a lot of things in our society, and we are just beginning to see it in education. if you have a group of faculty from wherever designed a course in introductory psychology or any other subject, why is the course not appropriate to be offered online everywhere in the country at that point? why should the university of tennessee do a version, the university of iowa, -- if they want to change it or add bells and whistles, fine, but why are not all of the schools using
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nine basic redesigned course, dr. twigg? >> it might not surprise you to know that i asked the question often. there are 72 general psychology textbooks on the market. that is a big number for a subject -- subject most of us would think is quite similar, but there are differences in what people want to emphasize, what the levels of the students are, so there are reasons for the diversity. however, one of the big contributions of the instructional software, which is becoming more prevalent with commercial publishers and individual companies, is the create materials that are able to be used widely. they're not as specific.
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a community college could use the same software that the university of mexico -- of new mexico could use. once software is playing such a big part, in many ways these courses are replicated, but you will need individual instructors to keep them on the task, mentor them, etc., but the development that wastes time in these courses can be mitigated by these packages. >> 25 courses account for 42% of the instruction that goes on at universities. it seems you could have the best designed course that we as a country could come up with for each of those 25 and have that available online to be used by any institution in the country. >> there is a second part of it that is critical, because a lot
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of people talk about creating free courses, and that will solve the problem. the materials are essential, but what is important is the way the material is used. if you have one set of material, and the faculty member says go often study, and pays no attention, chances are the students will not do well. if he is interactive, there is the learning. it is more than the course material. it is the pedagogy that surrounds the material, and that is new for most college faculty. that is why the redesign has been spreading, but we have 153, not 1053. >> mr. snyder cut you indicated you had 100 facilities? >> we have 40, and we are teaching and 60 others. >> how does the use of,, as we
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have been discussing, -- of online, as we have been discussing, worked in the context of your school? >> when you talk about why can there just the one course that everybody takes, that happens in indiana. we limit face-to-face courses to three books, and online courses to one book, and teachers can sign up online and unseat -- received -- receive instruction anywhere in the state. we think, is a perfect fit. there needs to be proprietary work. we have a program called smarter measure that will help you determine if you are capable of navigating an online system, but we think it will be prevalent.
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we are a big partner with western governors, which is a totally online university. it is forward-thinking, and we are trying to learn much from them and offered it across state borders >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. senator alexander. >> thank you, and i want to sit thank you to senator harkin for this hearing and a constructive way it has been conducted. thank you to the witnesses. i have been asked, what is more difficult, being a governor, a member of the president's cabinet, or a university president. my answer is obviously you'll never been a university president. you have never been a university president. -- you have never been a university president. i understand that and i appreciate you are doing. a change in state funding was said to have been the cause for the rise in education costs,
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and dr. leath said in iowa 70% side was paid by -- by the state. that was true in tennessee. i was governor then. we had a deal that if you increase tuition by 2%, we would increase state funding by 2%. today, it is reversed in our state and in your state based on what you said, but i did not hear any of you say what you think is the principal reason why states have failed to fund higher education as well today as they did 30 years ago?
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does anybody want to say what that is? >> sure, senator alexander. i have written about this because this question comes up. we could all sit here and talk about the great benefit of higher education. i think the primary reason is politics, not economics. both legislatures and governors have discovered that public higher education institutions are one of the few sectors of state government that have the ability and willingness to raise sufficient revenue on their own. with the exception of told ruth brigitte whole roads, for example, -- with the exception of toll roads, they do not have the capability to raise their own funds. governors have found out that if they cut appropriations, universities do not shut down. they maintain quality primarily by raising tuition and looking for additional sources of revenue.
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>> any other ideas? >> i have a slightly different view. indiana accepted funding generously in the university system until 2008, 2009, and tells state budgets forced them to rethink that, and now we're moving to performance funding, which will be based on outcomes' instead of just enrollment, which it was. i think we are one of a handful of states moving in that direction. it seems if you contrast what is going on in other institutions compared to community colleges, the community colleges because of their network and local support kept tuition increases low, in such that community colleges can deliver the first two years, transferable almost anywhere, for between $6,000.50 -- $10,000.
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so, the average book cost could be based on community college, and everything above that is based on institutional college. >> i only have one minute left. i have my own view of the real reason, and i am pretty sure of it, having watched, and it did not start with president obama or president george w. bush, and it is a single word -- medicaid. 30 years ago, state budgets were 8% medicaid. today, they are 25%. i know from my own experience, as you get down to the end of the budget process, after you find highways and courts run certain things, you get to the iwo pots of money, higher education or medicaid, the two
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pots of money, higher education or -- two pots of money, higher education or medicaid, and as long as states fund medicating a parental way, higher education will be seriously damaged -- medicaid in a preferential way, higher education will be seriously damaged. maybe you can come back to this, but despite all the things you can do with two-year degrees, where one-year degrees or operating in the summer, it seems, as we on leash the states from federal medicaid requirements, than our great public universities and community colleges will continue to be under-funded and tuition and loans will go up. the increase from 8% to 25% is by far the principal reason. to recommend mr. chairman. >> -- thank you, mr. chairman.
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>> i would just throw in that in numerous town meetings i have had in iowa over the last 20 years or so it has, time and time again about funding for higher education, and i have heard people say we put all of that money into iowa state, iowa, educate those kids, and they go to california, colorado, texas, or someplace like that. we do not see the benefit. this has been at town meetings for a long time. i just wonder how much that seeps through legislative thinking. >> i think one reason for the increase in scholarships and the hope scholarship or the scholarship in tennessee that will give every student $4,000 to go to tennessee is a to -- institute, i think the hope is they will stay in tennessee, but that is an interesting
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observation. >> thank you. senator merkley. i'm sorry. senator franken is next. >> i withdraw my thank you. [laughter] >> i did not look at my list here. >> i will take his thank you, and i will raise it wanted. dr. leath -- one. dr. leath, you have testified about information i was state include the financial award letters, including information about students current indebtedness, and the amount the loan repayment after school. can you explain why you feel it is so important to include this type of information in award letters?
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>> well, there are couple of reasons. one of the things we tried to do is educate students beyond the material in the classroom, in other words make them better citizens, and it is hard to get this level of personal responsibility if they are not well-informed in these areas. we have shown by data that students do not understand personal financial commitments, so to be good citizens and manage money well, we have to do this. we think it could have a significant role in driving down indebtedness gesture the educational process. students that go through these programs tend to borrow less after the program. >> i agree with you, but unfortunately not every school is moving to include this type of important information on their financial aid award letters.
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in fact, some school's letters to do not distinguish between grants and loans. i have seen letters where they have a stafford loan just by a code. they do not even say that it is a loan. it looks by all purpose, especially when it is then award letter -- the word "award" -- usually do not pay interest on the award. i introduced a bill that would include information you highlighted in your testimony. this bill will help stunts have accurate information on the true cost of college.
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do you see value in directing other schools to do what you have done with financial aid award letters, so the student can judge apples to apples and oranges to oranges? >> absolutely. we have put a huge emphasis on that and seeing results, yet students that take financial literacy programs are still confused comparing them to other schools because not everybody uses the same language or terms. i think it would be a great service. it is unfortunate that we have to legislate it, but it would be valuable. >> i think we do have to legislate it. president snyder, aligning education with workforce needs is critical. i think students would be more willing to go to college if they had a more clear sense that a degree would lead to a job. could you talk about the work you have done to align workforce needs and college needs, and what can be done to support
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alignment between schools and work force boards? >> community colleges, as a unique part of higher education, our partners across the country with -- are partners with employers across the country. virtually every community college program has a program like industrial technology that has an industry advisory board. that is virtually the pattern, which means they are actually local leaders that are part of that. we think that is critical. we started a program. senator alexander just left, but it mimics the tennessee technology centers, which we think is one of the best examples for employees that want to think about a job where you start with the end in mind and it might only take one-here to get to an industry-recognize certificate, which is another
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thing community colleges do, and then two-year degrees. partnerships, rethinking to make things more responsive, and boards focused on training and more visibility like the tennessee technology center, those are the things i think you need to demand the community colleges do it. is your best work force development tool. that is what we do. we tend to be under-funded because of the pockets that we come from and because we keep the costs low, but i think there is a huge entrepreneur spirit to keep doing this. >> there is a tendency toward this from the country, i believe, and i am trying to get it done in minnesota, and they are doing it.
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i would like to tell the chairman and the ranking member that a reauthorization, i think, would be a very timely thing in terms of being able to coordinate between the industry, the work force boards and the colleges, the two-year colleges. so, thank you, mr. chairman. i have to go back to judiciary. >> thank you, senator franken. senator merkley? >> thank you, mr. chair. i see a lot of young folks attending the hearing today.
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i thought i would ask for you to raise your hand if you have college debt and you are worried about the way that affects your future. wow. this is a major stress. i feel i was fortunate in college to have minimal loans coming out. my parents did not want me to work the first year to make the adjustment to college, but i worked a lot the following three years. so many students find they have to drop out of college. i was interviewing someone for my staff who was talking about a family matter -- family member, a brother i think was, who had to drop out and had to earn money to go back to a community college. in this work environment it is hard to save money to return to college, and a lot of people simply do not make it back to fulfill the opportunity, the vision and their potential dr. -- potential. dr. heller, you mentioned the pell grant program, and
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in 2006 he established a advisor a committee on effectiveness. it was surpassed not only for performing a constan comprehensive review and making recommendations for how they could operate more efficiently, but also to establish principles with identification moving forward. additionally, they launched a steady that was titled carolina accounts. that was an initiative to make operations more efficient. they have i think there are some
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positive things that can be done. we're also very concerned about the issues affecting this. financial literacy. i am happy to hear about full- service financial counseling at iowa state, which i understand workshops in courses on personal finance, such as budgeting and the use of credit cards. i am a strong proponent of financial literacy requirements in education, and i think we need to be doing so much more now to ensure that young people out a student loan, how to use credit cards, because you cannot get by without understanding that. not all that is bad, as long as it is used for education
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purposes investment purposes, and education is a huge purposes, and education is awhen i was in the state legislature in north carolina-mandated that a financial literacy curriculum be taught in the high schools. is still just a very, very small part of a larger class, but what have you been doing, and what do you plan to do to attract more students? course like this. would you consider making this a mandatory course for all incoming students? >> we would consider making it where we are at right now is we are pushing a different way. we teach alcohol awareness training that covers sexual responsibility, and we are up to 83% on a voluntary level by pushing it in conjunction with the government and student body, and we find students are more respected and retain --
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receptive and retain information because they think it is more important. if we could drive up financial literacy, we think it will be more meaningful. if we cannot get those numbers up soon, we would consider making it mandatory. >> we would consider making it mandatory. you didn't get the embalm you need to have a. we would certainly support making it mandatory. >> we are a member of this initiative that many of your states have been involved in for low-income students of color. we have mandatory advising.
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we made it a mandate that if you are in a remedial course, you must take a student success course but covers financial literacy as part of that time management. that is mandatory. we have done that. it is really how to keep yourself into all aspects of college life. it is primarily going to be managing your courses, helping you choose your major, making sure you understand what the advisory system is.
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college tuition is less than the pell grant. people have to figure out how to use that money so that they did not have to go borrow. students do. that is what we're trying to avoid. >> community colleges to such an excellent job. i think it should be mandatory. you cannot get by today without understanding credits. i do not think that many schools do a good job at this in middle and high school. it is what we need to be working on. you have shared your work as a way to maintain or increase
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quality but also save money. waters said that the other practices that school are engaging in or should consider ta? >> schools are trying to do a number of different things. the effort is on the administrative level. institutions to buy other kinds of things. that is important. i think what is not been touched is the academic program, which is the heart and soul of most institutions. we used to say faculty costs took about 80% of the institution. that is no longer the case. there has been a lot of growth in administrative costs. the fact that teaching methods remain much as they were 200 years ago makes them relatively
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inefficient and ineffective. the thing that needs to be done at institutions is to start on that aspect of the college or university to redesign the way academic programs are constructed and delivered. that is where you will see much greater savings. >> give me a picture of what this would look like. >> we talk about focusing on the top 25 enrolled courses. that could affect about 52% of the overall enrollment. tallahassee community college was a participant in our earlier program. they redesigned the freshman english course. student outcomes were much better. this was 10 years ago. $330,000. >> what is a redesigned course? >> rather than each individual instructor, rather than every instructor doing his or her own thing individually, instead the
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faculty work as a team to develop materials jointly. all the preparation time is cut down. they develop examinations jointly. that preparation is cut down. they have online exercises so they are not doing everything, doing every single thing. they are analyzing what is going on and thinking about where technology can be applied to offload some of these human effort. there are different design decisions made according to the discipline. >> thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator hagan. a couple of final observations.
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this committee has conducted an extensive investigation into the for-profit school industry. we have had a number of hearings on it. we have had staff involved in this. we will be putting out our findings of the two-year investigation with hundreds of thousands of documents reviewed. we will be putting this out hopefully week after next we will finally have our report. i think it will be startling. right now about 25% of all money that goes to education goes to the for-profit sector. . .
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i think they have skewed it greatly in many cases. they have not provided the student support services we will point out. it keeps coming up. i have heard from just about everybody in this panel about getting involved in online activities. they are learning how to -- they are adapting to learning through online. what can we do on the federal level to help promote -- whether it is iowa state or community colleges which really ought to be involved in this because you know what needs to be done. when you have 98% of your students getting jobs, that is fantastic. i can tell you it is not that way in the for-profit industry.
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there is great expertise here. why are more schools not getting involved in online activities? dr. twigg? >> there are more schools getting involved in online activities. >> the number of students involved in online courses grows every year. there is the consortium sponsored by the sloan foundation. it counts the number of on-line students. these numbers are growing rapidly. there are not as many institutions devoted purely to online courses. there are traditional institutions that do some online. community colleges have been in the lead in many ways in online courses. the virginia community college system was one of the earliest leaders in online courses.
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they have hundreds of thousands of students taking online courses. the average citizen thinks only a couple people are doing it. but in fact, almost every institution in the country offers some kind of online activity. >> someone mentioned the western governors association. they are doing fantastic stuff. >> they have a process model that focuses on the adult learners. that is another point we need to make. the adult learner has been benefiting from online. that was a void the for-profits filled. they are much more efficient in the way they deliver different varieties of media. a couple of concerns. i think we have to be thoughtful about new regulations because we do not want to sweep
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ourselves into everybody being concerned about our reach or advertising because the states may adopt similar rules. soon you have no budget to explain to the high school students about how to go to college. also there are creditors that get concerned about a variety of medias when online is all about this open network of media. i think that is critical. we are the largest on-line providers in terms of head count other than perhaps apollo. we could not have operated with the 40% increase in enrollment without online. >> i would say the proliferation of on-line has outstripped our ability to understand the effectiveness of it. there are many organizations that have raced into the on- line world.
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we're now beginning to be able to sort out which are delivering quality education. as that emerges, i think people can make better decisions. we have a robust online program. i would add that we talk about it as if it is either or. we have found great effectiveness with blended learning programs. some of what we do we do online. we engulf students in hands on application of course material. i think it is an incredibly important part of online. >> as you know, there was a federal requirement, 1992, that required of the for-profit schools that 50% of their students had to be campus-based.
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that was removed, if i am not mistaken, in 2005. now 100% of the students. as our report will show in a couple of weeks, since that time, it has skyrocketed in terms of how many online. we know what the dropout rates are now. we know what the non-completion rates are of the schools. it is abysmal. before we had a requirement, 50%. we do not have that requirement anymore. >> i would like to echo what my colleagues have said. the blended approach is the right approach. we are a science and technology university. there are many programs that are still better served in hands-on laboratories and other spaces. we want to emphasize there is also the added component that there's more to college than just what you get in intellectual material in the fashion.
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team building, living in residence halls, and many other experiences that come with living on campus. we have got to get the blend right. >> if i may add in your comments about the for-profit sector, the department of education last year promulgated a set of rules around in full employment. those have been challenged in the court. on the other side of the capital, there has been some movement to prohibit the department from enforcing those rules. i would urge the senate to take a look at those and support department. that is an important quality assurance mechanisms that can be used for online, blended, and on campus programs to make sure any institution is offering a high quality program. >> i will use tallahassee community college as an example, quite frankly, in terms of employment and what can happen. it is wonderful. i had one other thing i wanted to cover. i do not mean to prolong this.
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for all of you, a report from 2011 found master's degree graduates took 14% more credits than necessary for graduation. associate degree graduates took 32% more credits than necessary. certificate students took 112% more credits than necessary. it does drain financial aid resources. what is this all about? why are students taking additional credits? is this something we should be concerned about? it is just curious. we looked at this and saw this data. >> one thing i refer to is the academic efficiency we need in planning. our tool we use is an individualized learning plan that begins with the
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conversation between the student and an advisor. they talk about if the student knows what their long-term career plan is. then they build the academic ladder to get them to their career goal. obviously, some do not know. we can start them on a generic path. it avoids what you are talking about. we focus the students on the courses they need to take and we give them advice about our experience with regard to the sequencing of the courses that will allow them to continue and succeed. >> is it true that a lot of times kids go to college thinking they will pursue one course of study and find out they are not suited for that so they switch over and need to take extra credits. i know that happens. >> career pathing is important. we call it credit creep. you would think to really need a certain number of courses for
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your two-year degree. we work with the general assembly. we made that a statute that said other than national accrediting requirements, programs should be limited to 60 or 120. we're working through that with the two years and four years. the issue is curriculum committees will say an extra course here and there are good. pretty soon, you have 12 extra credits that did not exist five or 10 years ago. i think we will see results. some states have enacted that. it will force us to come together to compact this into a two-year or four-year windonw. credit creep is what we are working against. >> here is another touchy subject that comes up a lot.
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how much of student aid is for life style rather than for meeting the money to pay tuition? for basic room and board -- how much is borrowed for having a certain higher livestock? i hear a lot about this. >> i would say the short answer is too much. none of it should be used that way. we have had issues where students have used it for car payments and spring break to keep up with their friends, weddings, other things. we have made great strides with financial literacy that there is a day of reckoning that comes when you use it for these types of things. you should be living within your means. i do not know if it is as bad as some of the spectacular stories we're hearing. it is real. it is there. we need to drive it down.
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>> dr. twigg. >> we have been working with a nationwide program in developmental math. this is a big problem because of the sheer numbers of students that have to take some kind of remedial course. many institutions we are working with have analyzed students receiving f's in development amount and have found they are receiving f's in every course they have enrolled in strictly for financial aid purposes. my impression is they never go to class in any class. >> i have heard this. how prevalent is this? >> we focus on the first year of college and the developmental area. i have heard it from numerous institutions. institutions do not think to track it. they were trying to understand why they were not having success in the redesign. i think that is something that should be looked at seriously to find out how extensive the
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practice is. 85% of students in a class or in this circumstance, particularly in this economy, in rural areas of the country, where they had no intention of being students. i think it is worth looking into. >> do you have something on this, dr. snyder? is this bits and pieces or something happening more? >> we do not have good data. clearly there will be lifestyle students. community college is predominantly a location where not all students are poor. if you are poor and not a scholar, you are in community college. nine out of 10 people are trying to pay back loans. that is probably a good sign. it is not prevalent. colleges can do something. we're trying to do that in
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tracking short-term attendants on people not showing up, to withdraw them from school. that is one technique for using. we worry about it. lowering the cost of attendance that we calculate puts a cap on how much they can borrow. we did that for ivy tech. we lowered the cost of attendance. that reduced their borrowing capacity. if pell pays for everything, we do not want them to use that. it digs a hole they cannot get out of. the default rate of 10% across the board says a lot of people are trying to get the money back. >> senator, i think there are stories about students using for lifestyle instead of college. millions of pell grant recipients and others receiving loans, i would be complimenting
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about trying to implement changes in policy based on the stores. what you find is most are highly dependent upon the assistance. they are not using it for spring break or cars unless it is one they need to get to classes. i would be cautious about not overreacting to the stories in the media. >> are there other things people want to put on the record? do you wish to add anything to the testimony? this has been a great panel. great information. we thank you very much for your leadership in this area. i guess the underlying question i always have in terms of the course redesigns and everything else is, what is the federal government's role in promoting this?
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what dr. leath is doing at iowa state and having financial counseling, i think every school and college ought to have that. i do not know if we should be doing that. hopefully schools will pick it up. what dr. murdaugh is doing with community colleges, all of you. i want to find out what we should be doing for the federal government. i am not asking you to solve that right now. >> i cannot solve the entire problem, but i can make a suggestion. the federal government offers lots of competitive grant programs through the department of education, nsf, the department of labor. very few of these programs focus on the productivity problem in higher education, the very thing we are all saying is one of the major problems we
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face as a country. they focus strictly on improvement of curriculum. were some of these agencies to include the cost question as well as the curriculum question, lots of creative ideas would come forward. as long as these programs are strictly for innovation and curriculum changes, they come and go. they do not tend to stabilize in any way. that is one thing i would encourage the government to do. it is a creative way of encouraging people to come up with new ideas. i think there are millions of dollars being spent in current programs that could be redirected to address the cost issue as well. >> i invite any of you, if you have thoughts on this later on, to get it to this committee and
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let us know your suggestions and thoughts on how we can effect some of these changes more. unless anyone has anything else, i was going to point out someone said to think of it this way. k-12 education is mandatory. correctional facilities are mandatory. medicaid is not. it is matching money. no state has to do medicaid. they do not have to. if they want matching money, they have to do certain things. it is only in higher ed that they have paying customers. when state legislatures look at it, that is the only thing you can go to that has a big pot of money where you can get somebody else to pay for it. that is really a problem we have got to address.
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i thought that was a curious way of looking at it. i thank everyone. the topic is of particular importance to this committee and the appropriations committee. i am grateful for this. i invite you to continue to give us the benefit of your insight on this. we will leave the record open for 10 days until august 2. i thank my colleagues on both side of the aisle for their hard work on this and the collaborative approach on this issue. the hearing of the health committee is now adjourned. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] >> this weekend, live coverage starts today at 12:30 p.m. eastern.
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that is followed at 2:00 with a look at public education. then a panel examining the next presidential election. at 5:00, a panel celebrating the anniversary of the emancipation proclamation. on sunday, a leadership summit with several authors. the harlem book fair and the collegians leadership summit this weekend on c-span2. >> this weekend on american history tv -- >> 30 years of the administration's of the presidents have done more to confirm the prediction of the rich getting richer and everybody else flowing behind. >> from lectures in history, socialism and america, a columbia professor on the rise of socialism.
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tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern. sunday, more from "the contenders." this week, thomas dewey. he would lose to both fdr and harry truman. at 7:30 p.m. eastern and pacific. >> 17 months into the conflict in syria, an estimated 17,000 people have died in the country. now we hear from university of oklahoma middle east senator elector on the ongoing violence and why he thinks the u.s. should not get involved. this is about an hour.
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i am haleh esfandiari. i run the middle east program for the center. it is a great pleasure to be here. and to welcome our speaker from oklahoma, the director of the middle east studies at the university of oklahoma, and the author of a daily newsletter on syria. i have known him for a long time. we first met when i was teaching at princeton and he was a grad student working on syria. the professor has won the best teacher prize at his university, raised over $1 million for a new share in iran
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in studies, which is very close to my heart, and helped bring a government-funded flagship program to the diversity of all,. he has lived for years -- of oklahoma. the has lived for four years in syria. the last time i believe he was there was just before the revolution began. dr. landis travels frequently to washington dc. he is very much in demand. joshua, many thanks for accepting our invitation and coming. >> thank you so much. your very kind.
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ladies and gentlemen, it is a pleasure to be here at the wilson center and to talk to you today. i would particularly like to thank haleh esfandiari, who has always been to me the model of charm and intelligence. i have two parts to this topic today. the first part is looking at the larger context, a little bit of the history, and an evolution of my own thinking about syria. the second part will deal with what should washington be doing. let me begin with the larger regional context. almost a year ago, i wrote an article -- well, seven or eight months ago i wrote an article saying the regime was doomed, but it would be long and bloody. i expected assad to be in power in 2013. and the reasons for its been
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doomed is that it is the last minority areas -- minoritarian regime. and it would also be long and bloody because it is a minoritarian regime. after the first world war, we have this mishmash of the sex, classis, and urban renewal. in many ways, powers are in different states haphazard way in which many states were forced to get along and they have a hard time nation- building. it certainly describes the 11th compared to average of. -- to africa.
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in the 11th -- delavan to, all minorities enabled them to take power. in lebanon, you had those who were privileged over the rest. and the civil war for 15 years was about unseating that power by the muslims. it was about many other things, too. i am oversimplifying, but it was long and bloody because the minority did not want to give up power. and they still do not want to end the different sects sit across the divide and stare at each other. in iraq, the minority rolled over the majority shi'ites. america intervene and put the
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shi'ites at the top and flung the sunnis down at the bottom. america left the power-sharing arrangement when it left, and that is being dismantled by the machine -- the shiite majority, and maliki. and the sunnis are fighting back and there are car bombs the door of every single day where the death toll is almost as high as it is in syria. excuse me, haleh. [unintelligible] casting down the minority is a long and bloody process. we can take israel. the jews were 30% when the british left.
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of course, the muslims thought they would be able to take over palestine and they went to war. they lost. we know how that ended for them, and the jews were able to another, and they solve their problem -- were able to been gathered and they saw their problem by becoming the majority. now things are cramped. the palestinians still do not like it. they want a hug of that land, but that is the long and bloody. it is in some ways a zero sum game. people in the region have not figure out how to rule happily and share power happily. not in iraq, not in lebanon, not in palestine. the question is, how do they do it in syria? those in power there were not put into power by the french, but there were over recorded
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like mad by the army. and by 1956, we believe there were 65% of the noncommissioned officers in the army were allied. eventually, they became the majority of the officers. they were able to achieve a majority and in a to take power. the last coup was 1970 when the assad family took over. the minoritarian element is a strength of the regime. it is a weakness, but also a strength in many ways. unlike mubarak in egypt, who allowed his children to go off and become international bankers and make money, the assad's have been preparing for this and they have put their sons in the military. they are prepared.
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every major industry that is important, and particularly the security apparatus is dominated by family. in contrast to what happened in iraq, the assad's i understood that syria was not a nation in some ways. they went for family values. they understood it would take a village to rule syria. they relied on traditional loyalties. they are plugged into every major security. then they use tried and village affiliations -- tried and village affiliations, and ultimately the different sects. at the core of the success of the assad's was making the alliance with a series.
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that has unraveled only recently with defections at high levels. there are other logics going on, but at heart, it is sectarian and that is driving this. the sunnis are slowly abandoning the regime and the minority that is left is being stripped down to the basic core of these traditional loyalties prevent when they are completely stripped down, the regime will fall precipitously.
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but it will take time. and frankly, they are frightened. there their backs to the walls and they have nowhere to go. they're going to fight. like the christians and lebanon, like the palestinians. like the sunnis. they do not know what the alternative is and they have convinced themselves they face a bleak future. that is why no major minority figures from inside syria have defected so far. that may come, but it has not yet. assad's success was that he relied on traditional values, and he solved a major problem, which was that it had become a banana republic. and syria had about 20 successful -- 20 different crews, some successful, some unsuccessful many say is our fault that he is -- is of saud's -- is assad's fault they're not a nation today. and he has destroyed government in many ways. and in some ways that is true.
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syria was democratic. there were elections in 43, 47, and in the 1950's. it went not perfectly, but well. the first utah -- the first coup d'etat was similar to today. the president faced a crisis in government history. after the 48 war in palestine, which syria lost, he faced a crisis in his government. everybody was demonstrating in the street. not unlike the beginning of the arab spring.
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all political parties and the democratic life, which was quite lively but, they wanted a new government. the leader faced a dilemma and he could have solved the dilemma through politics. which would have been a unity government. at allow the people's party to form a government. he would not allow it. he thought they were traitors. and he said so to the person he made prime minister, which -- who wrote about that in his memoirs. he believes that they wanted to unite with iraq and become a greater syria. and he wanted to unite with egypt and the other arabs. you get this major split down the center of syria. and each political party thought the others were traitors and not nationalists, because they were going out of the country and making deals with foreigners. not foreigners, other arabs. syria was grew up politically, to put it short. he refused -- syria was screwed up politically, to put it short. he refused, majora role and he put the army on the street to break -- he refused to allow majority rule and he put the
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army on the street to break the heads of the demonstrators. the first coup d'etat was carried off, and that was the failure of democratic politics in syria because the major parties could not compromise. that has repeated itself over and over again in syria until the assad's, took over through military might. even the closest intimates of the former leader said he constantly made them fight each other. they complained bitterly that he did not trust the party or the program. today, we look at the syrian opposition, we see the same traits being played out over and pick over again.
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in america, we said we well -- we will get this council up and we will unify them and we will have something to replace assad with. that, of course, is the greatest danger in the policy side of things. there are also very important class divisions, rural divisions. the opposition was always week. let me turn now -- those are the major problems that syria has faced. and with this uprising, the assad regime has failed. it will never be able to put syria back together again. all of the numbers have gone the wrong direction. economic failure, terrible. the youth mold, terrible. the growing property rate -- the un statistics were 30.
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poverty rate is creeping up to 32. poverty means $2 a day or less. egypt is 40. yemen is even higher. there are some terrible statistics out there for a party. the lower classes were being hammered. and with the population explosion, the authoritarian system under assad was designed for 7 million, 8 million people. socialism, the authoritarian bargained, take away the freedom of the people, but they have jobs. they have some security. subsidize basic products. and give them security. that was the slogan. and that work. until zero -- syria and iran out of water. as their became more and more people -- syria ran out of water. and as there became more and
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more people, they could not take care of them all. the upper class got rich, but most of syrians suffered. this country was waiting to explode. assad did not have any answers, and he refused to really open up the system. he kept his father's model, which is to keep a few intimate around him, the people who are loyal, and to disregard the rest. and he had the option when he first came to power of rescinding the death threats of the huge muslim brotherhood, to try to draw the mint and reach a compromise. but he was frightened. and we saw this -- to draw them in and reach a compromise. but he was frightened. and we saw this recently in a
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wikileaks video. he says in an e-mail, we cannot discuss -- we cannot do this because the muslim extremists will get power at the local level and then they will want power up the center. and this froze him, because he saw his people as extremists, many of them, and he refused to broaden the halls of power. this was the narrow nessun of the regime, very brittle, and refusing to reach out. -- the narrowness of the regime, very brittle, and refusing to reach out. it read a lot of dangers for america to just waltz in and try to -- it created a lot of dangers for america to just waltz in and try to fix it. our current policy toward syria, i think, is the smart policy. the question is, when is that no longer a smart policy? the reason why it has been a smart policy -- and our road in
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an article not long ago -- i wrote in an article lot of ago for america to stay out of syria. it is not good for us to be nation-building. we have seen is in iraq and afghanistan. syria is not an easier country. it has the same divisions. and the minority in power are only 12%. and the sunni arabs are 70% of syria. there are 10% other minorities. the christians are said to be 10%, but they are more likely close to 5%. their numbers have been falling pretty precipitously. not good at nation-building, the u.s. is ready or active in the arab world. democracy is unlikely to be produced in syria anytime soon. the only two things that social scientists agree on as indicators of democracy
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promotion are fairly old populations, over 30 or over gives you in more than 50% chance of locking in a democracy. syria is 21. the only other places that are younger, gaza strip and yemen. trees yet is 30. egypt is even older because -- tunisia is 30. egypt is even older because they had a good family care in place. and then wealth, syria per- capita gdp is about 3.2000 a year. -- 320,000 a year. democracy is unlikely and expensive to rebuild.
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the syrian opposition ask for $12 billion in startup funds once they breeze -- they defeat the regime. but that would be tiddlywinks. we are spending over $4 billion a month in afghanistan. we were spending up to $7 billion in iraq at its height. americans are broke. they do not want to get into this kind of thing, if we get sucked in. but the most important thing is there is no nation, really. people get mad at me for saying no nation. i'm not saying there is no bond between syria. but there is not a tradition of unified leadership. and there certainly has not been a unified leadership produced out of the opposition. that is dangerous for america. if you waltz in and destroy the regime and you decapitate it as
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you did in iraq, the death could go up. the major argument for doing this, other than the strategic interests and hurting iran is the humanitarian argument. you go in and you will stop the killing. and what happens if the killing goes up? it did in iraq. once we destroyed the regime, the death rate went up because civil war started. will america defend going into syria to stop the civil war, or will they just turn their back on syria if there is no government? that is the danger of getting sucked in. is america prepared to interpret -- intervene? in a perverse sense, war is a nation-building process.
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there is an organic process to struggling against your enemy, the assad regime, that brings people together. you look at the major nation builders of the new middle east, whether it is ataturk, saudi arabia, iran or even in israel, almost all of them were out war for 10 years before they became leaders of their countries. they became national figures because they defeated, because they unified their country, and they produced an army that would back them up. they became heroes. in syria, there is no person like that. there may emerge out of this battle -- one would hope that if you give assyrians time, a leadership will -- you if you give the syrians time, a leadership will emerge. you have all of these new committees that are being
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formed. you've got the coordinating committee, exiled groups, all eight committees. a new civil society is the merging and not just in villages, but between villages and towns, and internationally. and that takes times. that will produce differing leaders. there are over 100 militias organized in syria. they are not cooperating. there is no central command. maybe that will emerge. of course, the danger is that they will not emerge, that assad will kill them, that this war will be very destructive. and rather being and -- an organic process for building, it is an organic process for destruction. that is what many fear. all that is why they are asking
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for intervention. but i'm jumping ahead of myself. those are the dangers. it's that we cannot do this well and we do not know how to do it. and there is logic to allowing syrians to build a new nation out of this process of fighting, and that good leaders will emerge because they will be successful on the battleground, and it will make alliances, and those malicious " eventually get some -- of those 100 malicious will get melded into one. and then when they defeat assad, there will not be chaos, like there was in iraq. there will be a government in waiting. and a national military making sure there is not wholesale looting and that people do not do bad things. that would be the ideal.
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and i would be the rationale for the obama policy -- that would be the rationale for the obama policy. there are other rationales for it, of course, like he does not want to be george bush. multilateralism. the russians said no, you do not want to go into afghanistan. many people would say it was stupid that we did that. we should have said come out too bad, we cannot go into iraq. america would have been better off. and you could have -- you can make a lot of arguments that america should not have taken leadership. we would not have got ourselves into $2 trillion worth of expenses that turned out to be not so good for america. there are other reasons for arguing to stay out. let me wind down by saying i was very strong on staying out.
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many of my closest syrian friends, even those who are of the minority ruling party, are saying this is terrible. assad is a loser. he has lost. he is going to lose. he is destroying the country. look at how many refugees there are. outside, but also internally. those lives will be destroyed. it will be hard to put them back together again. the damage to the cities, to the towns, to the people is immense and it is going to get worse. and russia and iran is still backing them, and that is partly because america is prevaricating. they argue, send a cruise missile into the palace. finish it. the place could collapse like a house of cards. assad will begin to deal and understand that we mean business and the whole thing will come tumbling down.
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the problem with that is that it is wishful thinking. what if it does not happen that way? you get sucked in -- you get sucked in and then you have to bomb military headquarters and you begin destroying a lot. where did that and it? that was the argument in iraq. we will just talk them and the place will fall apart and we will emerge happy. i am very turk -- very torn. i was a big advocate of non- intervention. i still believe the opposition is getting stronger every month. americans are providing help. the saudis are providing help. although there does not seem to be enough arms for the opposition. we have seen recently. we have seen articles about
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success stories, success stories -- today in the "washington post" there was an article about a town that has been living under opposition role very happily with christians and muslims. there is another article about libya. there was an election and yes, it is a chaotic country, but the worst has not happened. maybe decapitation can work. the trouble with syria, it is a much bigger country. it has problems that others do not have along sectarian lines. diyala -- the leadership has not emerged in alternative leadership. the opposition has been getting stronger. you could say, just be patient, give the opposition of little bit more help, but they can do it. the fighting has now gotten to
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damascus the last few nights and in damascus, there has been a lot of fighting, all around the outskirts. so far, this battle has been one of the angry young men in the countryside. it started with the poor countryside areas that are known for their poverty, because they are the ones that syria has failed the most. the opera glasses have not joined in, really. but increasingly, they are defecting. increasingly, the fight is moving into the cities and when it does, this regime will be overwhelmed. i will end by saying the argument for staying out, for not getting sucked in our very strong. i think they are still compelling. i think the opposition is getting stronger every month.
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the trouble is, the regime is becoming more violent. it still has support from russia and from iran. and that is allowing assad to believe that he can weather this and defeat it. the levels of violence are getting more and more horrifying at some point, you have to ask where the tipping point is. i'm not sure we have arrived there. it seems clear we are going to stay out of this for the next several months. and hopefully, we will see the opposition unify and beginning to develop a leadership with a better command and control, so that they will be able to do this on their own. thank you very much. [applause] >> we are going to open the floor to your questions. we will not take any comments. we will just take questions. there was -- there will be an overflow on the floor and we
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will take comments then. just wait for the microphone. yes, thank you. >> barbarous flavins from the atlantic council. -- barbara slaven from the atlantic's council. obviously, obama does not want to get involved until after the elections, but life could intervene. what if the regime uses chemical weapons against its own people? we have seen reports that they are moving chemical weapons around. if there is a mass atrocity, what should the response be and what would the response be? >> obviously, public sentiment drives policy to a certain
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degree. these would create a groundswell of sympathy and horror at what the regime is doing. it is already quite developed. can america improve the situation? this is really unknown. if you do send a cruise missile into his palace and begin to hunt him down like you did gaddafi and altman to kill him, how long will that take? -- and ultimately kill him, how long will that take? and then the big question is, does the death rate go up? if it does, then we can say, we have achieved our strategic goal, which is to hurt iran, and we can go home now. that is a little bit like what we have done in other places. that would be my fear. i do not know if america has the staying power.
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the regime is going to ration out violence. it is going to come. i do not know if it will be chemical weapons. i doubt that. but who knows? the levels of violence get worse all the time and it is clear that assad is increasingly living in this little world where he is convinced that everybody is an extremist and he is standing for good. you know, i rose in the desert. -- a rose in the desert. >> we are taking quick questions here. and also an overflow. is there any evidence -- christians and other religions are growing supportive of the fnc after a change in its leadership. >> the minority in general has
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been supportive of assad and they are fearful of others. i think many christians believe this regime can only so trouble from now on in. they are only hurting everybody in syria because there is no way for them to win. the longer they stay and syria is prevented from trying to get on with the next step, the more damage will be done. i do not think the druse and the christians are going to be. of course, they're worried about their way of life, but their way of life under the assad regime is going to change. syria has changed. syria is never going to go back to those days.
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it is very hard for anybody to get used to the notion that life is going to change. and syria will go straight time of chaos. many more people of today of minorities are embracing the fact that it will have to go through that time and it is better to get on with it. i know many in the minority ruling party that have talked to me about the notion that something needs to be done, you know, internal intervention. >> can you tell us a little bit about the support that the iranians provide for the syrians? the russians, we know where they stand. but the iranians, what kind of support today provide? >> it is very secretive. i do not really know. but we have read the articles about the billions of dollars that iran gives, but i do not think people know what the aid is. it is clear that iran understands that it is under
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attack not only by america, but the sunni major states, saudi arabia and the gulf. and it sees syria as the cutting edge of a defense against this larger onslaught. and the west sees syria as the weak point for iran. if they can take down syria, then they can get iran. and our policy is a regime change in iran, as it is in syria. i think there is a big fear of this domino effect that iran sees, that they will be targeted once syria goes down. and i think russia and china believe the same thing. i do not think syria is that important for either country. what they do see is iran cosseting their afterwards. and for china, 20% of their energy comes from iran and they have invested billions there. they see this as a great factor of instability.
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if america has its way with syria, this will keep a dynamic that is bad for china. i was in china not too long ago on an east/west confab of energy think and i was shocked at the number of diplomats who turned to us and said, why are you pursuing this anti-chinese policy? we are trying to lift hundreds of millions of chinese out of desperate poverty into the middle class and we need energy to do it. our entire economic miracle is fuelled on energy that has come from the gulf. new up put sanctions on it -- from libya -- put sanctions on libya, sudan, every major country that we get oil from. this raises the price of oil and it will cause our economic merkel to slow down. and that is hurting chinese people. we immediately turned to the chinese and said, we are the good guys and you are the bad guys. you are immoral and we are
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trying to help the good people in the middle east and heard the bad people. you are doing the opposite. and obviously, you have two different views of morality. they're concerned about helping the chinese and we are concerned with helping middle eastern people. maybe that is not quite the way it is, but we had to have it, this argument over who is more moral. and our intentions are good. and the chinese were clear, they see this as anti chinese policy. and i think that is what they believe.
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must have run out. they are still paying salaries. they are still paying the military. they are still paying some subsidies. it is unclear where they are getting this money from. it is going to be turning to iran. that is the main place iran is supporting. there has been all this talk about hezbollah and soldiers. i do not think that is true. but i think they are helping in whatever way they can without putting soldiers on the ground. >> away in the back. please, be very brief in your questions. >> good to see you, and good to hear that you are thinking assad is going down.
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like any other government, when a dictatorial regime existed, when it collapses, it is going down, by a intervention or not. this is a counter argument for being used to prevent another invasion. a successful election has just taken place in libya. we're seeking something similar to libya. >> whatever side you are on, i want to defect to it. muhammed was a refugee placed in the oklahoma city. common, and friends of ours called me up and said, can you help the guy, -- some common friends of ours called me up and said, can you help the guy?
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he is in oklahoma city. [laughter] i guess that was grounds for handing out. -- for him needing help. i saw him a number of times. i'm glad that you done so well. i have always been on your side. yes, i know the arguments, the no-fly zone, and just a few well guided cruise missiles. the libyan model. hund the guy down and kill him, and it will be over. -- hunt the guy down and kill him, and it will be over. we will do the rest. you just do not know what is going to happen. that is the trouble. and clearly, america feels for. -- poor. obama feels like he's got other things to do. america is tired of nation- building. and it feels like a fool's errand. and what is more, hillary clinton keeps on saying, we are winning.
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strategically, everybody in washington believes we will get to fill our goals. i think everybody in the opposition believes they are winning. they say, every month we are getting stronger. there is no compelling interest to intervene. you can give them better intelligence and do things like that. of course, our policy is to starve the regime through sanctions, and to feed the opposition with money and arms. and we are doing that. you try to moderate that by squeezing harder with more and more sanctions, which is what america is trying to do, and we are trying to shame rush into -- shame russia into doing so as well. and then get better intelligence. in libya, it is different. you do not want syria to be
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liked iraq and afghanistan. americans have decided they're winning anyway. it is possible that it could fall quickly, the regime, and new leadership could happen very quickly. many are saying, they're winning anyway, so let the syrians and do the heavy lifting. and in fact, going slow has certain benefits, which i outlined. it is an organic process. you cannot hurry it along. the syrians are very divided. you were there at one point and you don't it. -- dumped it. presumably, because you did not like what was happening there. i could turn to you and say, look, make me a believer, unite, get along. do not disagree over the most fundamental things. like, how much islam are going to have come are outsiders brabant -- how much islam are we going to have? are outsiders bad? the syrians have a lot to do to convince the west to be more
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interventionist and assertive. >> a question from the overflow, the red cross and the civil war this weekend, what is the implication? >> people have been announcing civil war for a long time. i think syria is in a civil war in many ways. it is not an even civil war. increasingly, it is going to be the minority ruling party against the rest. it is not there yet, but it will eve of in that direction. -- evolve in that direction. i guess, the implications are legalistic implications before taking people to world court and so forth, because crimes against humanity -- i do not really understand all of the legal things. but there are legal
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ramifications. you can take people for crimes against humanity more easily if it is seen as a civil war and there is no recognized government. >> identify yourself. >> my name is mohammed. i am syrian, from damascus. a very brief question -- how do you explain the 10% or 8% christian population. at the beginning of the century there was a muslim leader that they protested for. our knowledge is subjective. you think that you are married to a woman who belongs to that sector influences your thinking in any way? >> let me take the second part of the question. [laughter] i am married to an alueitte. my father went to syria as a --
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father inlaw joined when he was a young man appeared he -- there was no education when my grandfather built the for -- his grandfather built the first school. at the age of fourth grade he was able to begin school. and he got into the navy, which is white -- which is what they did. he graduated in alexandria. there was no naval academy in syria. and it was unification. he was a nationalist, and has been ever since. he retired about 20 some odd years ago. and has been pretty much in
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active, drinking tea on the balcony since then, because there is no role for people who are retired in syria. and there is not much civil society, even in the minority areas. mdot been married to a woman of that minority influences me. i know them. i understand them. but my ideas about syria were formed really, before that. they were formed from growing up in beirut, and from living and teaching in beirut during the civil war. when i watched christians and muslims kill each other in big numbers, and people who were very sophisticated. then i watched the iraq war. and everybody said, just not of the regime and it will all be good. everybody will get along. it did not happen. and my first year living in syria was in 1981-'82.
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i live in the dormitories at the university of damascus. i watched syrians -- every room in my dormitory was/sec. -- divided by sect. there was a true 0 -- and we talked about -- this was a druze room and we would talk about that. people would come and visit from the different sects, but they would change the conversation. if a particular set came into the ramat it would change the conversation. it changed dramatically. there was a world of different communities. that is what made me so worried about syria. yes, this regime -- there was never any illusion that it was ruled by force.
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and assad threatened to turn sarratt into 100 afghanistans if he was taken down -- turn syria into 100 afghanistans if he was taken down. it turned out to be real. and syria is paying an incredible price for it. i did not have illusions about it being a very hard landing. the first article i wrote in the beginning of april last year was "there is no soft landing for syria." and my second was "deeply sectarian regime. shahram most of my -- "deeply sectarian regime." and most of my friends attacked me for this. and you are my friends. and i still love you. but they could not believe that there are a society where sectarian. it did not believe their society was sectarian. it is not them is trying to protect them.
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clearly, i do feel for the ruling minority. and i understand them. you want to avoid having lived through lebanon, having watched iraq, the hope is that syria can somehow avoid this kind of destruction to society. i was fearful. i was a coward. and the minority have had the -- their foot on the necks of the majority. there is no denying that. you are praying for a soft landing. we have a large -- hard landing. it will be harder. you -- it is not that i'm married to a woman of the ruling minority, although i'm sure that has made me more sensitive to minorities, i suppose. but it has also made me more pessimistic about the future of syria. that is what made me so tentative to jump in. i wrote my dissertation, and most of my riding is on this, and i saw how the golden vision of syria as a nation with
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democratic until the ruling minority came along and roy it. it was not like that. mr. news reported for its -- sunnis came along and ruined it. themselves first. this underlying sense of pessimism under -- over iraq and lebanon and syria is what may be hesitant to jump in. -- made me reticent to jump in. >> no follow-up. nothing. >> i will get it afterwards. >> there is a question from the overflow. where does al qaeda stand in syria? >> al qaeda will try to make as much hay as they can in syria. no doubt about it. in iraq, everybody said that
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everybody who attacked him was sang the same thing. he is not the original. and did not believe the americans and i do not believe him when he says it. there are al qaeda in syria, i do not doubt it. but they are not a dominant factor. many people said, if we went in and intervene, there will be no al qaeda because syria is going to get radicalized. i think the syrians will find their justice in time. i do not know if we can stop them from radicalizing. we did not stop the iraqis. our major intellectual argument for going into iraq was democracy. it would not stop any of that and we did not create democracy. it is there but should not be the overall --
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a lot of people are trying to use it as a reason not to get involved in syria. i do not think that should be a leading reason for making your to regulations on syria. -- for making your calculations on syria. >> my question was answered. the cracks in the back. >> -- >> in the back. >> what are turkeys goals in this crisis? and are they likely to be realized? >> i think they are going for a big education on syria. i think they knew very little when it started out. and they're one -- they'reerdouin's get reactions have been very good. he wants to shift power from the south in the gulf of to the north and the middle east, and have turkey be in the center. and that is what he was doing very successfully. syria and screwed it up by getting into this terrible arab
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spring. he went down to try to talk to assad and it did not work. he got mad and he had to decide -- he had to side with democracy, and the same way that america has to side with democracy when push comes to shove, because it is the national religion. but once he got his feet in, he realize how dangerous it is. that is what all of the neighbors have been doing. indeed kkk is -- the kkk is still a very powerful party. they hate turkey. there and many are worried that turkey will gain influence in syria. the minority ruling party in syria, they are shiites who tend to sympathize with the shiite regime. entering in directly into syria, you would at open up sectarian
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issues in your own country. it is a lose/lose for turkey. they can only get more kurdish problems, more sectarian problems, and it will lose their money. that is why they said they would come in behind america, but they will not go in first because it is a swamp. >> very brief questions. >> i come from a christian background. if we live -- leave the united states not to support some groups there, but we will support islamic extremists in the country -- the people there are very secular and very diverse. by having the west outside open up things for groups that do not have any support in syria.
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>> if they do not have support, they will not survive. >> i think america is trying to pick winners. if they do not have any support, then there will not be any support. this is one of the difficult problems. afghanistan in the 1980's, which is to go 50/50 with the saudis, do a sort of sharing program of funding the prejean to bring -- funding the mujahideen to bring dow down a regime we do not like. we have not given them stingray missiles yet, but maybe we could get there. the al qaeda question is important, and the sense that it does cover in the thinking of how america will do it. and the cia has clearly been sent to syria to say, do not let in as honest extremists.
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we've got -- islamic extremists. we've got to pick some winners. clinton announced that all funding would go to the syrian national council and that saudi arabia had agreed to do that. which would mean that america would be able to pick the winners, and it would not go straight to the muslim brotherhood or to those that sell arabia might like to fund. -- saudi arabia might like to fund. the syrian national council had its heart attack. that broke down because syrian national council had its heart attack and jettisoned -- everybody attacked the kurds and they all began to stab each other. america's plan fell apart in its hands. the weapons are not getting in the numbers they hoped. i do not know where saudia arabia is on this. they have talked about having a tag team group that would make
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policy but i think that policy is probably not coming together the way america wants, which is leaving the door is open for people to fund who they want to. which is what america was worried about in the beginning. so that is a concern. christians are going to worry about that. assad is a loser. he will make syria worse in the short term. he is going to kill lots of people, he will destroy the place and he will not be there eventually. he will lose. then where does that leave the questions? the christians are going to deal with muslims and they will deal with some islamists and syria will be much more islamic then it is today. we have seen it in egypt, tunisia, all over. syria's will have to suck it up. i mean, the christians will have to suck it up. they will have to decide if they can live in a new syria.
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they have always stood for the opposite and that they will not be saudia arabia. they will not be iran. they will be more like turkey. even if they are not turkey, they will be more like turkey and the questions will be christians -- and the christians will be respected as they are. everyone sees questions as everyone sees christians as successful. they are angry at them because you name yourselves john and other western names and they attack you for not being arab enough. if you can stand that, i do not think it will be so bad. turkey is solved its problems with ethnic cleansing. they either kill the armenians or kick them out and a lot of
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serious questions have already a lot of the christians have already gone through one expulsion. they are fighting for good reason. he got to be democratic and was able to win elections and the democracy because there were no questions. know chris stevens. -- because there were no questions. if there had been 20% christians, he would not have succeeded. i do not know if that is exactly true but you can see it. syria has that problem because there are alawites and christians and others who are frightened of is lummis. -- of islamists. they have a reason to be frightened. look at what happened. this century has been hard for christians in the middle east. but what can you do? christians will have to make their bed with a new syria. it is better to do it faster than slower.
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>> we have run out of time. please join me in thanking dr. landis. [applause] >> thank you very much. and thank the woodrow wilson center. >> more on syria from the associated press. the u.n. security council has unanimously approved the resolution extending the 300- strong u.n. observer force in syria for 30 more days and possibly beyond. the resolution offered by the british would and the mission in 30 days but we knew if it is the secretary general and security council confirmed the use of heavy weapons has ended and the level of violence in syria is reduced. the mandate of the mission had been set to expire yesterday.
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congressman adam smith, the ranking member of the armed services committee talks about sequestration, defense spending, it u.s. policy toward syria, national security leaks, and other military issues. that is sunday at 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. >> it was about those men and women almost mortally injured in war. because of the huge advances made in medical trauma treatment over the last 10 years, they are being saved. an incredible number are being saved. almost everybody who falls on the battlefield is being saved. i wanted to write about what life was like for these people. i started off with a question, having seen some people who were
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gruesomely maimed. would it be better if they were dead? >> it is series -- in his series, he spoke with veterans, families, surgeons, combat medics, a therapist, and nurses on the struggles for those severely wounded in military operations. learn more on sunday at 8:00. >> something has happened in the last two decades really changing the nature of large corporations. the cycle time, the amount of time they have to stay at the top of the past, has been incredibly compressed by globalization, technology shifts, regulatory shifts. large corporations need to deal with existing markets, known
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customers and products, they need to deal with destruction. disruption is when they have a great core business and some crazy comes along and says, we're going to take out this company. the best examples are two of the smartest companies. anybody ever had a black. or nokia -- ever had a black. berry or nokia phone? they passed the iphone around at the nokia meeting when it first came out in the fatal question was, why should we care about this? >> you can find that at the c- span video library. >> on monday, washington senator murray said she and democrats
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are willing to let all of the bush tax cuts expire in january if republicans do not agree to a deficit reduction deal that includes significant amounts of venue. republican leaders say that would hurt small businesses. senator murray delivered her speech at the brookings institution in washington. this is 90 minutes. >> we're glad to have you here. we have had a project here on
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the budget deficit. none of us can vote or introduce bills, so we are glad to have someone who can do both of those things, not to mention chairman of the committee, to come here and tell us about the deficit and what their plans are. their pleas to be doing it. i will begin with doing a introduction of the senator, and that i will ask her a question and the audience will have the chance ask her some questions, and then we will go to a distinguished panel and the audience will have more time to ask questions of the panel. let me first say that the top -- talk today will be about the so-called cliff or slope or whatever you want to call it. are are a lot of things coming due january 1. just in case there might be people out there who do not know exactly what it is, it includes the bush tax cuts come out of unemployment compensation extension, the payroll tax holiday, the $1.20 trillion sequestered, and a number of
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other items. many of you are familiar with the expression but i do not have a dog in this fight. there is nobody in washington that does not have a dog in this fight. senator murray will tell you the rest. senator murray? [applause] >> thank you so much for that introduction. i am so glad to be here today to discuss this issue with so many of you who have been working on it for a long time. i want to thank the budgeting for national priory's project costing us today, as well as the members of the panel that you will be hearing from shortly and all of you for taking time to be part of this. as all of you know, last august i was asked by majority leader reid to co-chair the joint select committee, the supercommittee.
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it was not the most sought after drop in congress. -- job in congress. in notch below the chair of the dfcc, but i agree to do it because i thought it represented a few important opportunities. the opportunity to avoid the pain of sequestration that would be triggered if no deal was made, the past and responsible, long-term deficit- reduction plan with a simple majority, a guaranteed vote in the house, and no ability for it to be filibustered in the senate, which is no small deal these days. also, after years of partisan rancor, culminating in a truly ugly and absolutely unnecessary debt ceiling battle, the opportunity finally showed the american people their government was not broken and that we could come together when we needed to. as everyone knows, the supercommittee was not successful and we could not
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come to a bipartisan deal. the reasons for that, the lessons learned from those months of intense talks, are absolutely critical as we face those exact same issues heading into the end of the year and the so-called fiscal cliff. because if we want, if the want to come together around a balanced and bipartisan and deficit-reduction deal, the american people expect and deserve, something is going to have to change. today i want to talk the addition, the values, and -- vision, values, and priorities that drives my approach to tackling our challenges, and i will contrast that with what i see as the shortsighted and deeply flawed isn't that has been dominated -- flawed vision that has been
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dominated by the republican party. i will run to help these visions played out in the specifics of the supercommittee negotiations and the recent budget debate, and then i will lay out how i see a pat ford as we now head toward the end of the year. my approach to this issue starts with my own family. it starts with the story that probably is not so different from stories told by families across the country. i was born and raised in a small town in washington. my father ran a store on main street, and everybody helped out. my family was not rich, but we never felt deprived in any way. when i turned 15, things started to change. my dad, a world war ii to veteran, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. in a few short years his illness got so bad he could not work any more. my mom had to take care of him,
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but she needed a job so she could support our family. she found some work, but it did not pay enough to support me and my six brothers and sisters and a husband growing medical bills. without warning, my family had fallen on hard times, but thankfully, we lived in a country where the government did not just say tough luck. my dad was a veteran, so he got some help from the v.a. for his medical care. my family had to rely on food stamps. it was not much, but it put food on the table so we could get by. to get a better paying job, my mom needed some training. fortunately, at the time there was a federal program that helped her at and make -- helped her attend washington vocational school where she got a degree in accounting and eventually a better job.
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and my brothers and sisters and i were all able to go to college through federal grants and student loans. like millions of americans, caught by with a little bit of luck, we pulled through with a lot of hard work, and while i would like to say that we were strong enough to make it on our own, i do not think that is true. i know that the support we got from our government was the difference between seven kids who might not have graduated from high school or college and the seven adults we had come to be, all college graduates, all working hard, all paying taxes, and all now getting back our own communities. so this is the primary present tonight you this nation must budget to and what guides me in the senate with the choices we make. not the government should solve all the problems, because it cannot, but we are a nation that has always come together to stand with families like
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mine, to invest in our people, in our communities, in our future, and to build the most robust middle-class the world has ever seen. it budget is not numbers on a page. despite what you may think if you listen to some of debates we had been having recently, the word budget is not just a synonym for deficit reduction. it is not just about charts and graphs and trajectories we hear about, although those are important, too. a budget tells a story of what kind of nation we are and that kind of nation we want to be. and that it is a statement of our values and our priorities and our vision, or at least that is what it ought to be. these ideas led to some very clear goals as i went into the supercommittee. first, i thought everything he
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did to be on the table when we started. this did not mean members were supposed to check their bodies -- values at the door, but it did mean we have the best chance of success if members did not rule out any changes to entire swaths of the federal budget before we began. second, i felt strongly that any deal had to be balanced and include both spending cuts and new revenue. the middle-class and vulnerable americans had already sacrificed so much, they lost their homes, they lost their jobs, their life savings, and they should not be called on the continued bearing the burden of deficit reduction alone. third, i wanted to make sure we did not let the very real need to tackle our deficit and debt cause us to cut out the most critical investments in our families and our future or set aside the values and priorities that have made america great.
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fourth, i wanted to be a big deal, a grand bargain. i was willing to consider a small deal to avoid the pain of sequestration, but i thought it should be a last resort. i wanted us to put our country on track to tackle the debt and deficit, not simply continued lurching from crisis to crisis, and i was willing to make the tough compromises that work -- that were required to get there. but unfortunately, while there are many republicans who share those goals, who see the value of a government that works for the middle-class, families, their party has been dominated by an extreme ideological strain allows itself only to think in terms of cutting and shrinking and eliminating, and never in terms of investing or growing or fairness.
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they have a vision for our country in which families like mine would not have gotten a hand up. we would have been left to fend for ourselves. a vision best articulated by one of their ideological leaders, grover norquist, who said, "i'm not in favor of abolishing the government. i just want to shrink it down to the sites where we can drown it in that bathtub " he was kind enough to wish me good luck on the super committee by telling reporters that washington does not do budgets. he has elicited a pledge from almost every single republican member of congress to never, under any circumstances, raise taxes by even a penny, but the fact that the wealthiest americans are paying the lowest rates in generations. despite the fact that the wealthiest americans are today
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paying the lowest rates in generations and the federal government is taking in the lowest level of revenue in decades. unfortunately, part of many -- far too many republicans have latched on the this deeply, damaging ideology. they pay lip service to deficit reduction, but what they actually seem to be concerned about is cutting taxes for the rich and starting programs that -- and starving programs that help middle-class families and the most vulnerable americans. if republicans really thought the deficit was the most pressing issue, you would not have seen their presidential nominee said he would reject a deal to cut $10 in spending for every $1 in tax increases. you would not see them do everything to protect the bush tax cuts for the rich. he would seek far more interest and compromising with democrats
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to get the grand park and that -- you would have seen far more interested in compromising with democrats to get the grand bargain everyone in this room understands we need. you would not see their single- minded focus on slashing discretionary spending and -- on what provide critical support for our families and investments in our future. it was with very different visions and priorities that the two sides came together in our supercommittee last year. i understood it woul be difficult. i knew democrats were ready to compromise and open to the concessions a balanced and bipartisan deal would require, and i was hopeful republicans were as well. the first thing that the super kid committee met, we went round the table and we talked about what we wanted to accomplish. we shared coffee and runny eggs, and our hopes for the coming months.
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democrats discussed our priorities and our willingness to put everything on the table to get a balanced deal. we discussed our desire to continue working to cut spending responsibly. we talked about our willingness to tackle entitlements and make sure they were strengthened in a way that assured they would be there for our children and grandchildren. we highlighted the need to responsibly reduce defense spending while making sure our national security needs were addressed. we laid out our belief that in a fragile economy, with millions of americans out of work, it made sense to invest in the short term while putting our nation on a path to long-term debt and deficit reduction. of course, we talked about the need for a balanced approach that included revenue. republicans opened in a very
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different way. one said defense cuts were off the table and indicated that instead of trying to go big group should focus on doing just the opposite. he wanted us to go small. republicans pushed for us to focus on the so-called low- hanging fruit from prior negotiations before working on any of the tougher issues, meaning that they wanted to start by locking in and agreeing to all of the spending cuts that were identified as potentially working in a larger deal, but none other revenue increases that would have actually made such a deal possible. this was a tactic we have seen before, and we would not agree to an approach that would lead to an all-cuts and balanced -- all cuts unbalanced deal. it was not a great start, but my hope that this was a negotiating
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position, not a hard line. we continued our bipartisan conversations. we traded offers and ideas. we had our staffs draft and analyze potential language. there were times when i thought we were very close. but looking back at the offers from the other side that represented the greatest attempts at compromise, it is clear that while we were close on the spending side, republicans had not even left their corner when it came to revenue. the biggest offer democrats put forward was an attempt at a grand bargain. this proposal, built on the $1 trillion in cuts in the budget control act, with an additional $1.30 trillion in cuts to spending and changes to entitlement programs, as well as $1.30 trillion in new revenues. it included a short-term investment in jobs to get our economy a boost. to be honest, it was a painful offer creek included a
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compromise on entitlements that i personally was not comfortable with. it had deep concessions on the spending side. but i knew that the only way a deal was possible was that both sides were willing to accept some pain, and i was willing to do that for a balanced and fair deal. but our balanced proposal stood in sharp contrast to the offer republicans would hang their hats on when it all and it. -- when it all ended. this was their attempt at acting like they were putting revenue on the table and offering a compromise, while in fact it was doing the exact opposite. the toomey plan was small. it included $700 billion in spending cuts which was less than what democrats have offered come around $300 billion in new government fees, and $300 billion and what they were calling new revenue. it is important to note many of those numbers were fuzzy.
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i want to unpacked that last number of that, because republicans were trying to do something not unique to this plan. we were seeing this over and over in their proposals. the toomey plan would permanently cut the top tax rate for the wealthiest americans, from the 35% is now, and schedule it down to 28%, which would add trillions more to the deficit. it gets even worse. the plan claims that what -- lost revenue would be offset by closing loopholes and and the deductions, and, further, there would be $300 billion in extra revenue. but while the plant is explicit about giving the rich the biggest tax cuts since the great depression, it is painfully
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vague when it comes to where that revenue is going to be found to offset that. it ignored that per completely. it's simply assumes congress will be able to get that done through tax reform. well, there was some analysis done on a proposal similar, and what they found was that in order to pay for the tax cuts for the rich, we would have had to slash to the but the personal and dependent exemptions, almost all item is deductions, -- itemized deductions including the most popular ones we all know, home mortgages, charitable donations, state and local taxes, college tuition tax credits, almost all the tax credits. to spell out the obvious come up under the toomey plan, the richest americans would get a huge tax cut while the middle class would lose the tax benefits that mattered to them the most. in an analysis of a similar
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plan, it was estimated somebody making over $1 million a year would see an average tax cut of over $31,000. anyone making over $200,000 would get a tax cut. for anyone making less than that, the middle-class, the poor, the cuts and rate did not make up for the exemptions and deductions a loss. for example, someone earning $55,000 would see an average increase of almost $1,000. not only is it deeply unfair to ask the middle-class the foot the bill for another deficit- busting tax cut for the rich, but the to the plan would have locked them in with no guarantee that the revenue would ever be found to pay for them. there is nothing irresponsible -- nothing responsible about
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that in my book. i find it offensive. i was reminded of the plan when i saw the rye budget this year. -- ryan budget this year. ryan's budget cuts taxes for the rich more than the toomey. ryan did the cbo to score his plan as a deficit reducer, so he simply directed the cbo to score his plan assuming it would raise 19% of gdp. that is quite an assumption. i wish we could assume all of our problems away like that. bruce bartlett slammed the plan, writing, he offers only the sugar of the reductions without telling us what the medicine of the big broadening would be. mitt romney said something similar, cutting rates for the rich, while refusing to name the deductions that would be
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needed -- closed to play for it. it was a bait and switch. it was not a step in our direction. it was a leap toward the tea party and away from ideal. democrats were willing to match the republicans dollar for dollar on the spending side and more. we even beyond when it came to tackling entitlements. we had backing from our leadership and our party to make a big deal. we jumped right into the middle of the ring. republicans refused to move an inch in our direction on revenue. they actually tried to use deficit reduction committees to cut taxes for the rich even further credit they were so focused on how their base would react, they could not summon the will to leave their partisan court. why is this? why is the moderate republican party so opposed to allow the rich to pay just a little bit more in taxes to help solve the
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debt and deficit republicans and as a country, that they would prefer no deal at all? it was not always this way. president reagan raised taxes 11 times. president george bush famously raised taxes to rein in the deficit. this should not be controversial. outside the republican party is not, because if you believe the deficit and debt are major problems that need to be addressed, as democrats do, and as republicans claim to, then you cannot simply ignore revenues at a time when at 15.4% of gdp they are the lowest in 60 years. poll after poll shows the american people overwhelmingly want to reduce the deficit with a combination of cuts and revenue. every single group that has made progress in the area, from simpson bowles did others, were able to come together because their plans were ballots.
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-- because their plans were balanced. we do not want to increase revenue for the sake of increasing revenue. of course not. as a nation, we need to pay for the services and programs the american people want. we need to rein in the deficit and debt, and we need to do it in a responsible way. democrats understand this, and congressional republicans should, too. because all this is coming to a head once again. unlike last year, the consequences of gridlock be felt immediately. millions of jobs could be lost to the automatic cuts. programs would be slashed irresponsibly across the board and middle-class tax cut would expire. once again, if republicans will not work with us on a balanced approach, we are not want to get a deal. -- not going to get a deal.
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i feel very strongly that we simply cannot allow middle- class families and the most vulnerable americans bear this burden alone. it is just not fair. if we cannot get a good deal, a balanced deal that calls on the wealthy to pay their fair share, then i will absolutely continue this debate into 2013 rather than lock in a long-term deal this year that those middle-class families under the bus. i my party and the american people will support that. i hope it does not come to that. i think we have reasons to think a deal can happen before the end of this year. and the democrats are willing to compromise. we need a partner. i am seeing encouraging signs from republicans who are sick and tired of being boxed in by the most extreme elements of their base, who do not like being responsible for continued manufactured crises that hurt our economy and destroyed our nation's in this government and are concerned about the impact
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of sequestration. in the privacy of backrooms, republicans are far more willing to discuss the need for revenue. there are some republicans who are passionate about national defense and willing to make tough choices on riveted to -- willing to make tough choices on protect pentagon. in fact, some of the productive conversations that my republican colleagues have been having have let grover norquist to decry it there "impure thoughts" when it comes to taxes. if he is mad, we must be on the right track, because the only way that we can get a balanced and bipartisan deal is if republicans can persuade their leadership to stand up to the most extreme elements of their base and come to the table with real compromises. i also think the republicans are starting to realize something very important.
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on january 1, if we have not gotten a deal, grover norquist and his pledge are no longer relevant to this conversation. a name that i heard repeatedly by republicans over and over in the supercommittee will no longer be part of this debate. we will have a new fiscal and political reality. if the bush tax cuts expire, every proposal will be a tax cut proposal, and the pledge will no longer keep republicans boxed in and unable to compromise prick -- and unable to compromise. and middle-class families start seeing money coming out of their paychecks next year, will republicans stand up for new tax cuts for the rich? will they continue opposing the democrats' middle-class tax cut? i think they know that will be an untenable position, and i hope this pushes them to come to the table with real revenues now before being forced to the table if we do not get to a deal by the new year. we should not wait pit is not --
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we should not wait. it is not good for the economy. it is not good for the markets. most importantly, it is not good for the taxpayers and small businesses across america. when it comes to expiring bush tax cut, i agree with president obama. let's extend them to the 98% of workers and a 97% of small businesses ever been a great dig of small businesses that democrats and republicans agree should have tax cuts and then have a debate about the tax cuts for the wealthiest americans that we disagree on. before all this we will have a vote to do that in the senate. some republicans have indicated they will make an effort to extend all of the bush tax cuts, including those for the rich. i challenge them to do something different, to be honest about what they really want an all-out everyone to clearly state their -- to be honest about what they really
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want and allow everyone to clearly state fair -- their position on this issue. i challenge them to offer an amendment to our middle-class tax cuts that would simply extend the tax cuts that are fighting for, the tax cuts for the rich. a real amendment. they do this, all of the bush tax cut would be for a clean, honest, extension of and the -- extension vote and american people would know where everyone stands. any senator who supports extending tax cuts to the middle-class, and the center -- any senator that supports extending tax cuts for the rich can vote for the republican amendment. that would give everyone an opportunity to vote for exactly what they want and will make sure the political gimmicks don't get in a way of delivering results to the 98% of workers both sides agree should have their tax cuts extended. if republicans don't do this, if they continue playing political games and only offer an amendment to kill this bill,
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then i will have proven -- then they will have proven conclusively they don't care about certainty, but care about extending those tax cuts for the rich and they will use every bit of leverage they have to do it. if we are really going to address these issues, we have to cut through the political smokescreens. it is time to put our cards on the table, offer real choices, and have a debate that is worthy of the senate. holding the middle class tax cuts hostage may be a smart tactical move if the goal is to protect the rich, but it is not good policy, not good politics, and democrats will keep reminding the american people why middle-class tax cuts are not being extended immediately, even though both sides said they want them to be. i have also heard the claim made that we need to extend all the tax cuts to give us time to reform the tax code. we absolutely need to reform the tax code.
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it is badly broken and i'm certainly willing to discuss the fast-track process for getting that done, but there is absolutely no reason that we need to extend the tax cuts for the rich as a precondition for reforming the tax code. when we do get to work on this, republicans will have to accept that tax reform a back door way for them to sneak through more -- republicans will have to except the tax reform is not a back door way for them to sneak through more tax cuts for the rich, it is going to raise revenue to help rein in the deficit and debt. in addition to the expiration of the bush tax cuts, we also face a $1.20 trillion in automatic spending cuts. as you all remember, sequestration was included in the bipartisan budget control act to be about sought an -- to give both sides an incentive to compromise.
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but republicans were not willing to offer any concessions to get to deal, and now they want to have their cake and eat it, too. they want all the deficit reduction but without any of the bipartisan compromise of shared sacrifice. if democrats were willing to accept all wobbly imbalanced deficit reduction plan to avoid the automatic cuts, we would have done that back in the super committee. we did not then and we will not now. anyone who tells issue -- anyone who tells you sequestration is going to simply disappear because both sides want to avoid it is either fooling himself or trying to fool you. it is going to have to be replaced. a replacement on to have to be a balanced plan. we are not going to allow just the defense cuts to be replaced without addressing the domestic spending cuts that would be devastating for the middle class. none of the automatic cuts are good policy. there were packaged together in a bipartisan fashion to get both sides to the table and i will be replaced or not as a package. the defense cuts get most of the tension here but across america, all the automatic cuts
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would be equally damaging to our families and communities. that is exactly why have been working across the aisle with senator mccain of legislation calling for an analysis of the impact of sequestration across of defense and nondefense spending. i am hopeful that information will help us bring the same spirit of bipartisanship to a balanced and bipartisan approach to replace those automatic cuts. once again, i will not agree once again, i will not agree to a deal that rose middle-class families under the bus and forces them to bear this burden alone. unless republicans and their commitment to protecting the ridge above all else, our country is going to have to face the consequences of republicans entrenchments. this is about more than taxing our debt and deficit. it is about coordination. we cannot ignore this great challenge. we need to rein in the debt, but it is not all that defines
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our budget. our budget and our nation will be defined by the scientists to come out of our schools, by the businesses that we create, by our communities, our universities, our research, development, are innovation, and we will be defined by the opportunities we afford to every one of our families and workers by the fairness of our society and how we treat the most vulnerable among us. when i go back home to washington state, my constituents don't come up and say they want the federal government to spend 18 or 20 or 25% of gdp. they tell me that what a strong school system for their kids. they want them to go to college if they want to. the one good jobs in their communities, save roads. they want the government to be there for them when they need to for getting back on their feet.
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in other words, they want government to do what it did for my family. what'd has done for millions of families for generations. they do want us to tackle our debt and deficit. this certainly do not want us to hand the bill to our kids. they wanted done in a balanced and fair way that does not leave the middle class holding the bag along. -- alone. those are the priorities are will be pushing for more about all the tax cuts next week and in that weeks and months and years ahead. i believe the reflecting american values that have carried our nation for for generations and the vision that will continue our country's great leadership and to the 21st century and beyond. i know the democrats are ready to go to work. we want to make a deal. we are ready to compromise. i am personally willing to talk to anyone from either party who wants to solve this problem. as soon as republicans decide to work with us, i'm confident we can get to a balanced and bipartisan deal with the
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american people. thank you. [applause] >> you said democrats are ready to deal. can you give us any indication of the deal democrat the put on the table and what significant enticement ship changed and how? and you think the majority of democrats would support a? -- it? >> as i indicated on the super committee, democrats did put a package forward that did include changes to entitlements to assure that they were there beyond one generation. i have a granddaughter. i understand that and am willing to make decisions to make sure we have long-term security for medicare and
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medicaid in our entitlement programs. but that is in the context of a balanced approach. the reason those changes and suggestions were not accepted is for one reason alone, and that is because the republicans would not put any revenue on the table to help make that deal in compromise. >> we have time for one or two audience questions. at a clear, short question. there is a mike right here. >> my basic question is, would make the negotiations a lot easier to get on with going big, the grand bargain, if there were more money to work with right now? it could be generated without any increase to the national debt. in one minute flat, i can
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sharpen up that question to be as precise as i think it should be. >> just give us the essence of it. you have an idea. >> the essence of it is, as many of us know during the 1930's there were many prominent economists who argued that to fight the great depression, we should reintroduce the lincoln era greenbacks, a means of exchange which do not increase the national debt at all. it is complicated subject with a lot of history. there have been many times and places where paper standard, greenbacks have been used successfully. and with very limited inflation. in one case, release level of inflation of our country for 52 years. it was a major debate, a grand
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debate of the 1930's, and my question is, should we not be reopening that grand debate as well as pursuing the grand bargain? >> fortunately we are at the brookings institute and you have a wonderful panel of experts who will come after me you could address that better than i. i sat on a super committee. everyone wants a magic answer. everyone wants a miracle to occur. everyone wants to pull something that looks good, sounds good, but in reality, cbo does not support it as something that will reduce our debt and deficit. we have to come forward with a plan that will reduce our debt and deficit. democrats on the committee did that, but where we did not get any compromise was on revenue on the table. >> my question is, the issue of jobs and outsourcing.
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you remember when i lived in seattle, it was during the clinton administration that there was a proposal that was passed for naphtha that still continues where they are out forcing johnson has not changed in both houses, where the democrats and republicans have endorsed this and continue with the unforeseen of jobs, which eliminates jobs in this country. what position do you take on how his change the economy, will it add jobs in this country if we eliminate nafta and gatt? >> we are not here today to debate trade policy, but i can tell you that every democrat strongly believes we should be making things here in this country and creating jobs and showing the world that we can be strong in the future. that takes a lot more than trade agreements. takes training and education for our work force. it means making sure people
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have the skills we need to manufacture and built here in this country. i can tell you standing here, if all our deficit and debt reduction comes out of that small portion of the budget and eliminate some education and training, we will not be able to manufacture and buildings here in this country. i know we are out of time. i just want to say to your audience, i believe we can get a good deal. i believe it will take leadership and compromise. there are good people working at this at every level. i am willing to work with anyone who comes to the table and is willing to bring real revenue and a balanced approach to solve this really important generational challenge for our country. >> senator, thank you very much. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012] [captioning performed by national captioning institute]
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>> if you will stay in your seats, we will bring the panel up now and bring the next phase of our program.
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>> thank you for your patience. now we get to the part where we asked questions that are pertinent which we've just got through being told. our panel consists of three people from brookings and one person not from brookings. next to him is bill gale, an expert in taxation and a senior fellow at brookings. bob greenstein, he masquerades as the director but he is the whole shot and he has written
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frequently and perceptively on this issue. it will be interesting to hear what he has to say. and alice rivlin, she has generated her own plan. and has a lot to say about a budget deal. this is a remarkable statement. several months ago, xavier came here for a friday lunch. we had a lively discussion because he proposed the democrats should do exactly what senator murray just proposed. i think more people were incredulous and now we have a from a person who is on the head of the senate campaign committee. now we have it as a serious proposal. the first question to the panel, would this work? would it work? what were the result be if we actually went off the cliff?
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what would be the consequence for the economy and the budget debate? bill. >> well, i think part of her speech that impressed me was the ending where she said she was optimistic and hope for a deal. the qualifier throughout the discussion was it had to be a balanced deal. as i interpreted her definition was half taxes and half spending. my guess is that will not pass muster in any kind of an arrangement. it seems to me where she was calling a grand bargain, under that definition, looked like it was going to be thin. it was not going to get us where we need to get.
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simpson-bowles, which is the standard, we are in the $5 billion area, i think she sounds like she is about halfway there. so i think we need to escalate her aspirations. >> did you want to say something? >> yes. i think it is a bold move on the the part of the senator. when you say, will it work? it is a question of what it is. as a negotiating tactic, the threat to let the kid and caboodle expire at the end of the year is a brilliant negotiating tactic. i hope it does not actually happen because i think if we did that, we would take some risks with the economy.
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cbo, among others, has pointed out that going off the cliff would risk recession in the first half of next year. don't know whether that is right, whether it is too pessimistic or optimistic. but there are real risks. on the other hand, as a negotiating tactic, it makes sense. if you remember back when the been negotiating tactic of the republicans was, let's a default. that was truly scary to those of us who thought that the fault was an unacceptable option. but going off a cliff is risky but has some advantages. it would mean that the debt ceiling was no longer a problem
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and it would buy some time to think of a better answer and probably not be totally catastrophic for the economy. i am not for going off a cliff but as a negotiating tactic makes a lot of sense. >> bill. >> i do not think it is just a negotiating tactic. i do not think she is just playing poker. there is more to it than that. that is, 90% of the republicans have signed a no new taxes' pledge. if i had any criticism of her speech, she was referring to extreme elements in the republican party that did not want to raise taxes. 90% is an extreme group. it is not an extreme republican idea to sign the no new taxes pledge. it is a mainstream idea.
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the problem the democrats have is if they want taxes to be any part of a budget deal, they have to not only negotiate republicans, they have to get them republicans negotiate themselves so they can hold hands and violate the new deal at the same time. one way to avoid that is simply to let the bush tax cut expire. that is 2% right there and they can get that by doing nothing. it is a substantive issue and a strategic issue. i would not want to downplay the substantive part. you can get more revenue if you let the tax cuts expired then if you keep expanding them. in terms of the long-term effect, the way i think of this if we let the tax cuts expire and we initiate the sequesters, we will be on a much better long-term path and we are now in terms of budget aggregates. nobody will like the structure of what we have done.
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we will have cut discretionary spending instead of adjusting entitlements. the fact we are on a better pact would give us more revenue and give us an opportunity to reach a budget deal and it would give us the incentive to reach the deal because nobody likes that structure. the short term concerns, cbo said this could push us into a recession, there could be dealt with via a short-term stimulus that did not involve the bush tax cuts. i had a piece online about this earlier this week. there are many more interesting issues, believe it or not, then what share of the bush tax cuts should be extended. the way to do that is to do
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something temporary now, let them expire, create a framework can deal with tax reform. i want to talk about the balance issue. i did not hear senator murray say anything about 50-50. maybe i missed it. it is not my impression that 50-50 is a requirement for anybody because it is an arbitrary division and because there are these tax expenditures which are really spending that happens to be embedded in the tax code. things like the mortgage deduction, the deduction for state and local taxes, those could be structured as spending items. the urban institute as a piece that showed that spending is a good 4% of gdp.
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you could cut those things and they could be called spending cuts and liberals could call them tax increases. i do not think it is that important. it is important that for this to be a sustainable deal, both sides have to be seen as giving something and giving up something. >> bob greenstein. >> i agree with bill. this is more than a negotiating tactic. i again say that not just from senator murray's speech. president obama said he would veto a bill that extends to the upper income tax cuts. there is history here. it is what does happen over the last year or two. we have had negotiations and we ended up with a package it was 100% spending cuts and no revenues. if he did not do that, the
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nation could default. over the last five or six weeks in meetings with various democratic senators, i have posed the question to them -- when you go into negotiations and to the lame duck, do you believe that although you talk about a balanced package, that when you get up to january 1, you, the democrats, will agree to extend all of the taxes? everyone who answered the question said yes, that is what the republicans believe. from the administration and the democratic standpoint, they heard john boehner say a month ago, every dollar we raise the debt limit has to be offset by a least a dollar in spending cuts. no revenues.
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the only budget that meets that is the ryan budget. if you do not somehow change the terms of the debate and show that you will not agree to any more deals that are spending cuts only, that you will continuously go farther and farther down that path. with regard to the economy, i think the view which i share, it is reflected in the paper chad stone has done, if all of the tax cuts expire and stayed expire, the sequestration goes into affect and remains in effect. my view, when clinton and gingrich could not agree, the
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pressure on both sides was so great there was a deal in in three weeks. the pressure here will be greater given the state of the economy and concern in the markets. i think if we do not have a deal by january 1, i wish it were not the case but that may be the only way to actually get a deal that includes revenue and because it includes revenue these democrats to go farther than the otherwise would in areas like medicare. to the degree republicans come to believe -- and i do not believe they do -- that people like the president and senator murray are serious, if that is believed, then it increases our chances of getting it done without going into january. >> and clarify one point, if we went off a cliff, and now we are in january, the situation
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is republicans could agree to proposals that would produce additional revenues and they would be tax cuts because the rates have gone up as of january. correct? going back to your statement, does that create the possibility you could get a deal that involves revenue? republicans would be saying, these are tax cuts and yet they are producing a trillion or what ever in revenue. >> that is a little too canned and cute. i think there are some republicans who feel we need to have some revenue. it is very hard for them to get in front on that in the party. if we go into january, there is volatility in the markets, financial markets, there is
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tremendous concern, the media is focused on this incessantly, the president has called bipartisan negotiations, in that context, i think it is somewhat easier for republicans. it is not this cute, a technical thing. >> bill, what do you think of this? will republicans be able to cut a deal with tax increases more easily if the bush tax cuts disappeared? >> i really do not know, ron. i look on this -- alice says this is not worse than the republicans threatening the debt ceiling. i think it is the same kind of an adventure. this is the season when the parties are in conflict. they are throwing down their threats one to the other. i think it is a different game
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after the election. they have to sit down and decide what they want to do. i think what bob has suggested is the possibility there might be a kick the can down the road. there might be a fall-off the cliff followed by negotiations to save oneself. but i do not think we know that. what we do know is there are precious few days in a lame-duck session. the problems are sufficiently complicated that it is extremely hard to negotiate the fall bargain. however it gets kicked over into 2013, a lot of the decisions will be made in 2013, particularly with respect to tax reform which will take the
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committees at least a year. >> let me ask you a yes sir no question. >> politicians do not know those questions. >> you are not a politician anymore. you are a scholar. >> i have gone straight. >> good. so you will answer. we have got over the cli? ff and if we can do revenues and, to take bob's scenario, the whole country is going nats, the media is covering it, would those factors, is that more likely the republicans would allow some deal that would be a children or some amount increases? >> if i had to guess i would say bob is on the right track and that is a possibility. but i really do not know. it seems to me when the
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republicans are in chaos and the economy is in ruins, there will be heavy incentive for both sides. >> i think your question is missing an important element of the discussion. there are two aspects of the debate right now. a one is how much revenue to raise an the other is a structural reform of the tax system. if the bush tax cuts expire, the revenue question is done. we have raised an enormous amount of money. from the perspective of getting enough revenue to be part of a medium term budget deal of $4 trillion, we are done. if congress wants to continue to work on reform, that is great. i would be off for that. but in terms of -- simply letting the tax cuts expire does that.
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in that sense, it would make reform a significantly easier because then it would be about revenue-neutral or tax cutting relative to the baseline rather than about raising taxes. >> as you pointed out, that is a short term because you have not ratcheted down in that scenario any of the cost to drivers in the long term. >> that is right. it is not the solution. >> alice. >> i want to speak up for the grand bargain. whether it results in a deal in december or a dealer in january, it is not as important as recognizing that is not what we want to do. we do not want to raise revenue by raising rates when we have an opportunity to improve the tax code and improved its pro- growth nature and is progressivity at the same time.
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and a sequester is not how we want to cut spending. mainly because it does not deal with the entitlement programs de, as your question to senator murray pointed out. we have to have comprehensive reform that raises revenue and slows the growth of entitlements in the future. we cannot get there unless we do that. we need some kind of mechanism and here we have one. >> bob greenstein. >> following up on what alice said, we would much rather this occur in november or december. if we go into january, the increase to 39.6%, maybe, we do increase to 39.6%, maybe, we do not know it will, maybe such a


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